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Sappho and Her Friends: The Poetry Thread


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#1 laffite

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:26 AM

When Nat King Cole croons about his Beloved,

Sweet Lorraine, he makes no mistake about her ...

 

"Now, when it's rainin', I don't miss the sun,

'Cause it's in my baby's smile, oh oh ..."

 

...which is more that the speaker of

Shakespeare's sonnet #130 is willing to say

about his Beloved ...... and yet ...

 

***

 

130

 

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

   As any she belied with false compare.

 

---Shakespeare

 

***

 

Go girl; you rock.



#2 Swithin

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 10:09 PM

Midsummer
By Robert Fitzgerald
The adolescent night, breath of the town,   
Porchswings and whispers, maple leaves unseen   
Deploying moonlight quieter than a man dead   
After the locust’s song. These homes were mine   
And are not now forever, these on the steps   
Children I think removed to many places, 
Lost among hushed years, and so strangely known. 
 
This business is well ended. If in the dark 
The firefly made his gleam and sank therefrom,   
Yet someone’s hand would have him, the wet grass   
Bed him no more. From corners of the lawn 
The dusk-white dresses flutter and are past. 
Before our bed time there were things to say,   
Remembering tree-bark, crickets, and the first star… 
 
After, and as the sullenness of time 
Went on from summer, here in a land alien   
Made I my perfect fears and flower of thought:   
Sleep being no longer swift in the arms of pain,   
Revisitations are convenient with a cough,   
And there is something I would say again   
If I had not forever, if there were time.
 


#3 laffite

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 05:07 PM

Thank you for Lycidas. A college prof of mine said that the poem always brought his college days back again on reading it. I think I feel that now. What a masterpiece is this poem!

 

Coincidentally, I've been listening to readings of Milton (and others) on some discs available on DVD and you tube, notably from Ian Richardson, who does a great job with these final verses from Paradise Lost, the departure of the"parents of mankind" from Eden. We see Mr Richardson in profile but at the verse five from the end turns his gaze towards us intoning that very human tendency (perhaps the First Tear, for who weeps in Eden?)  ...

 

 

 

... whereat

In either hand the hastening angel caught

Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate

Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast

To the subjected plain; then disappeared.

They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld

Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,

Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate

With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms:

Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;

The world was all before them, where to choose

Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,

Through Eden took their solitary way.

 

----


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#4 JamesStewartFan95

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 10:12 PM

There once was a man from Nantucket

Who once played baseball for Pawtucket

To the pros he'd n'er make it

For he just couldn't fake it

Cause he sure was no Kirby Puckett



#5 Swithin

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:35 PM

This poem came up in a conversation recently, so I thought I would post it here:

 

Lycidas

By John Milton

 
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more 
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere, 
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, 
And with forc'd fingers rude 
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 
Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear 
Compels me to disturb your season due; 
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, 
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer. 
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew 
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. 
He must not float upon his wat'ry bier 
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, 
Without the meed of some melodious tear. 
 
      Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well 
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; 
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. 
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse! 
So may some gentle muse 
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn, 
And as he passes turn 
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud! 
 
      For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill, 
Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill; 
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 
Under the opening eyelids of the morn, 
We drove afield, and both together heard 
What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, 
Batt'ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night, 
Oft till the star that rose at ev'ning bright 
Toward heav'n's descent had slop'd his westering wheel. 
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, 
Temper'd to th'oaten flute; 
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n heel, 
From the glad sound would not be absent long; 
And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song. 
 
      But O the heavy change now thou art gone, 
Now thou art gone, and never must return! 
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves, 
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, 
And all their echoes mourn. 
The willows and the hazel copses green 
Shall now no more be seen 
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. 
As killing as the canker to the rose, 
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, 
Or frost to flowers that their gay wardrobe wear 
When first the white thorn blows: 
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. 
 
      Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep 
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? 
For neither were ye playing on the steep 
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, 
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, 
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. 
Ay me! I fondly dream 
Had ye bin there'—for what could that have done? 
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, 
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, 
Whom universal nature did lament, 
When by the rout that made the hideous roar 
His gory visage down the stream was sent, 
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore? 
 
      Alas! what boots it with incessant care 
To tend the homely, slighted shepherd's trade, 
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? 
Were it not better done, as others use, 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, 
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair? 
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 
(That last infirmity of noble mind) 
To scorn delights and live laborious days; 
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 
Comes the blind Fury with th'abhorred shears, 
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise," 
Phoebus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears; 
"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, 
Nor in the glistering foil 
Set off to th'world, nor in broad rumour lies, 
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes 
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; 
As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 
Of so much fame in Heav'n expect thy meed." 
 
      O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood, 
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds, 
That strain I heard was of a higher mood. 
But now my oat proceeds, 
And listens to the Herald of the Sea, 
That came in Neptune's plea. 
He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, 
"What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain?" 
And question'd every gust of rugged wings 
That blows from off each beaked promontory. 
They knew not of his story; 
And sage Hippotades their answer brings, 
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd; 
The air was calm, and on the level brine 
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. 
It was that fatal and perfidious bark, 
Built in th'eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, 
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. 
 
      Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, 
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, 
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 
Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe. 
"Ah! who hath reft," quoth he, "my dearest pledge?" 
Last came, and last did go, 
The Pilot of the Galilean lake; 
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain 
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain). 
He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake: 
"How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain, 
Enow of such as for their bellies' sake 
Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold? 
Of other care they little reck'ning make 
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast 
And shove away the worthy bidden guest. 
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold 
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least 
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs! 
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped; 
And when they list their lean and flashy songs 
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw, 
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, 
But, swoll'n with wind and the rank mist they draw, 
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread; 
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw 
Daily devours apace, and nothing said, 
But that two-handed engine at the door 
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more". 
 
      Return, Alpheus: the dread voice is past 
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, 
And call the vales and bid them hither cast 
Their bells and flow'rets of a thousand hues. 
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use 
Of shades and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, 
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks, 
Throw hither all your quaint enamel'd eyes, 
That on the green turf suck the honied showers 
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. 
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine, 
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet, 
The glowing violet, 
The musk-rose, and the well attir'd woodbine, 
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, 
And every flower that sad embroidery wears; 
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed, 
And daffadillies fill their cups with tears, 
To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies. 
For so to interpose a little ease, 
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. 
Ay me! Whilst thee the shores and sounding seas 
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd; 
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, 
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide 
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world, 
Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, 
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, 
Where the great vision of the guarded mount 
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold: 
Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth; 
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth. 
 
      Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, 
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead, 
Sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry floor; 
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, 
And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high 
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves; 
Where, other groves and other streams along, 
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, 
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, 
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. 
There entertain him all the Saints above, 
In solemn troops, and sweet societies, 
That sing, and singing in their glory move, 
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. 
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more: 
Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore, 
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good 
To all that wander in that perilous flood. 
 
      Thus sang the uncouth swain to th'oaks and rills, 
While the still morn went out with sandals gray; 
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, 
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay; 
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills, 
And now was dropp'd into the western bay; 
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue: 
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new. 
 

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#6 Swithin

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:45 AM

Up in the Morning Early
Robert Burns
 
Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;
Sae loud and shrill’s I hear the blast,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Up in the morning’s no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
I’m sure its winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A’ day they fare but sparely;
And lang's the night frae e’en to morn,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Up in the morning’s no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
I’m sure its winter fairly.

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#7 laffite

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 11:01 PM

My anthology (a real book) remarks that

this is one of the few poems not drawn

directly from W's experience. It is inspired

by the reminiscences of a friend.

 

The Solitary Reaper

 

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

 

 

Behold her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by herself;

Stop here, or gently pass!

Alone she cuts and binds the grain,

And sings a melancholy strain;

O listen! for the Vale profound

Is overflowing with the sound.

 

No Nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt,

Among Arabian sands:

A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard

In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,

Breaking the silence of the seas

Among the farthest Hebrides.

 

Will no one tell me what she sings?—

Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow

For old, unhappy, far-off things,

And battles long ago:

Or is it some more humble lay,

Familiar matter of to-day?

Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,

That has been, and may be again?

 

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang

As if her song could have no ending;

I saw her singing at her work,

And o'er the sickle bending;—

I listened, motionless and still;

And, as I mounted up the hill,

The music in my heart I bore,

Long after it was heard no more.

 

[weep]

 

***

 

Browsing the thread I ran across the below,

posted by the OP. Not a companion piece,

it differs in scope (length) and has a more

immediate sense of tragedy, but to my ears

the similarity of a passing Maid in simple 

doings that is suddenly no more is engaging.

 

Don't you love the way the poets can take

something quite simple and everyday, put

words to it and thereby making wistful and

nostalgia for all of us.

 

PERSEPHONE

 

By Sappho (630?/612? BCE --- 570? BCE)

 

I saw a tender maiden plucking flowers

Once, long ago, in the bright morning hours;                                      

And then from heaven I saw a sudden cloud

Fall swift and dark, and heard her cry aloud.

 

Again I looked, but from my open door

My anxious eyes espied the maid no more;

The cloud had vanished, bearing her away

To underlands beyond the smiling day.

 

***

 

Browsing the thread is rewarding. A wonderful collection of poems.

I love the painting of Sappho sitting on marble with her fragile and

sensuous form on that white and mighty weight. The statue is probably

Homer.

 

EDIT-I have decided (hopefully with the blessing of the OP) to repost this

wonderful painting. Posted orig by Swithin.

 

sappho%20by%20Godward.jpg

 

"In the Days of Sappho," 1904 painting by John William Godward:

 

---


Edited by laffite, 08 September 2016 - 04:07 AM.


#8 Vautrin

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 04:03 PM

Okay, as the sun sets on a decrepit, low rent Paris apartment,

we say goodbye to our opium smoking friend, and the low,

heavy sky weighing like a lid upon his aching spirit, we bide

farewell.

 

O Mort, vieux capitaine, it est temps! levons l'ancre

Ce pays nous ennuie, o Morte! Appareillons!

Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l'encre,

Nos coeurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons!

 

Verse-nous ton poison qu'il nous reconforte!

Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brule le cerveau,

Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu'importe?

Au fond de l'Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau!


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Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#9 Princess of Tap

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 08:12 AM

Swith--

You must give us credit for mentioning Baudelaire's lesbian poems from Les Fleurs du Mal.

I was not aware of the controversy surrounding Sappho - - as we read her poetry in high school English class.

I have indeed started a thread on French poetry - - which I have intended to do for some time but have procrastinated.

I hope you will enjoy our little contributions and join us sometime.

Votre chère amie
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#10 Swithin

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 06:51 AM

Hey guys, I started this thread first to honour Sappho, whose name had been censored on the TCM Board, then to post poetry, not to have long discussions about it or about the poets. (I guess I -- or one of you -- can begin a poetry discussion thread).

 

[Interestingly, the board moderators finally allowed the name of Sappho, but I can see in my posting here that the word "qu_eer" is not allowed.]

 

Here, in honour of the Battle of the Somme, which took place 100 years ago, is Isaac Rosenberg's poem, "Break of Day in the Trenches."

 

The darkness crumbles away. 

It is the same old druid Time as ever, 
Only a live thing leaps my hand, 
A qu_eer sardonic rat, 
As I pull the parapet’s poppy 
To stick behind my ear. 
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew 
Your cosmopolitan sympathies. 
Now you have touched this English hand 
You will do the same to a German 
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure 
To cross the sleeping green between. 
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass 
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes, 
Less chanced than you for life, 
Bonds to the whims of murder, 
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, 
The torn fields of France. 
What do you see in our eyes 
At the shrieking iron and flame 
Hurled through still heavens? 
What quaver—what heart aghast? 
Poppies whose roots are in man’s veins 
Drop, and are ever dropping; 
But mine in my ear is safe— 
Just a little white with the dust.
 
 

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#11 laffite

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 12:14 AM

For the sake of French literature, I don't see any problem with you printing some verses en français-- Baudelaire was an artist and much of what he did was just that art.

 

D'accord.

After all Laffite, what are you going to do when Vautrin and I start to talk about Rimbaud

 

C'est a dire, quoi? Vous aller parler de lui en francais? Si que oui, je serait ravis!

Which reminds me, in one of my graduate French literature classes we watched the movie where DiCaprio played Rimbaud- - a profoundly explicit film.

 

DiCaprio? Ugh? Il a tres bien fait la?

I went to the apartment in Bruxelles where Rimbaud et Verlaine had their little incident. It's near La Grande Place in Brussels. They have a little plaque on the door commemorating it, believe it or not.

 

J'y crois!

 

see above



#12 Vautrin

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:39 PM

For the sake of French literature, I don't see any problem with you printing some verses en français-- Baudelaire was an artist and much of what he did was just that art.

After all Laffite, what are you going to do when Vautrin and I start to talk about Rimbaud?

Which reminds me, in one of my graduate French literature classes we watched the movie where DiCaprio played Rimbaud- - a profoundly explicit film.

I went to the apartment in Bruxelles where Rimbaud et Verlaine had their little incident. It's near La Grande Place in Brussels. They have a little plaque on the door commemorating it, believe it or not.

I think I saw that movie a number of years ago, but much of it has

faded from memory. The relationship between Rimbaud and

Verlaine is one of the few that Hollywood would not have to

embellish to create excitement. It's all there in their history. I

can see Rimbaud as a Satanist, but it's hard to picture Verlaine

as one. I recall reading that Mme. Verlaine, his mother, kept her

miscarried fetuses in alcohol jars in their home. Don't know if

that is true, but it would certainly screw with your mind.


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Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#13 Vautrin

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 11:19 PM

Les Litanies de Satan By Charles Baudelaire

 

==

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

"Les Litanies de Satan" ("The Litanies of Satan") is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, published as part of Les Fleurs du mal. The date of composition is unknown, but there is no evidence that it was composed at a different time to the other poems of the volume.[1]

 

The poem is a renunciation of religion, and Catholicism in particular.[2] It includes a blasphemous inversion of the Kyrie Eleison and the Glory Be, parts of the Catholic Mass,[3] or it substitutes Satan for Mary and liturgy directed towards her.[4] Swinburne called it the key to Les Fleurs du mal.[4] The poet empathizes with Satan, who has also experienced injustice[5] and can have pity for those who are outcasts. But for political reasons, Baudelaire had to preface the poem with a note explaining he had no personal allegiance with Satan.[6] Even so, Les Fleurs du mal led to him and his publishers being fined for "insult to public decency".

 

The poem is an inspiration to Satanists to this day.[7]

 

==

 

I saw the name "Satan" in the title quite by chance in a book of poems and looked it up. The line in Bold (my emphasis for purposes here of course) might be a little misleading, it's possible that B really did not have allegiance with Satan (despite being irreligious). Milton in Paradise Lost represents Satan as expelled because he was contrary to God but he was also represented as a Rebel, which is thematically important to Romantic Poets in general who hearkened back to Milton for this. Baudelaire, as you know, did not like the Establishment (if you will) and thought that there was more to life than the prettified notion of accepted normalcy (and here against religion). I don't think that he was a Satanist, per se., and shame on the Satanist today who try to co-opt B for their miserable purposes.

 

I'm deciding against printing out the poem because the poem might be scandalous to the devout even today. Am I being too scrupulous? I hope not and it would be nice to think that discretion is not a thing of the past. And as we all know, the poem is available on the Net.

 

PS I remember a novel in the first person who periodically refers to his "Baudelaire period." Perhaps a rebellious period, though could mean many things. That's all I remember about the book.

 

..

I'll have to read that poem just to see how it works. There are of course

different interpretations as to how Satan fit into CB's life and work. Maybe

there was a deep spiritual interest or maybe it was just a bit of the old

epater les bourgeois. Personally, I find it hard to take Satan and Satanism

very seriously, but I know some people do. I've never read it, but Bertrand

Rusell published a book of fiction with the wonderful title Satan in the Suburbs.


Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#14 Princess of Tap

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 10:20 PM

Les Litanies de Satan By Charles Baudelaire

==
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Les Litanies de Satan" ("The Litanies of Satan") is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, published as part of Les Fleurs du mal. The date of composition is unknown, but there is no evidence that it was composed at a different time to the other poems of the volume.[1]

The poem is a renunciation of religion, and Catholicism in particular.[2] It includes a blasphemous inversion of the Kyrie Eleison and the Glory Be, parts of the Catholic Mass,[3] or it substitutes Satan for Mary and liturgy directed towards her.[4] Swinburne called it the key to Les Fleurs du mal.[4] The poet empathizes with Satan, who has also experienced injustice[5] and can have pity for those who are outcasts. But for political reasons, Baudelaire had to preface the poem with a note explaining he had no personal allegiance with Satan.[6] Even so, Les Fleurs du mal led to him and his publishers being fined for "insult to public decency".

The poem is an inspiration to Satanists to this day.[7]

==

I saw the name "Satan" in the title quite by chance in a book of poems and looked it up. The line in Bold (my emphasis for purposes here of course) might be a little misleading, it's possible that B really did not have allegiance with Satan (despite being irreligious). Milton in Paradise Lost represents Satan as expelled because he was contrary to God but he was also represented as a Rebel, which is thematically important to Romantic Poets in general who hearkened back to Milton for this. Baudelaire, as you know, did not like the Establishment (if you will) and thought that there was more to life than the prettified notion of accepted normalcy (and here against religion). I don't think that he was a Satanist, per se., and shame on the Satanist today who try to co-opt B for their miserable purposes.

I'm deciding against printing out the poem because the poem might be scandalous to the devout even today. Am I being too scrupulous? I hope not and it would be nice to think that discretion is not a thing of the past. And as we all know, the poem is available on the Net.

PS I remember a novel in the first person who periodically refers to his "Baudelaire period." Perhaps a rebellious period, though could mean many things. That's all I remember about the book.

..



For the sake of French literature, I don't see any problem with you printing some verses en français-- Baudelaire was an artist and much of what he did was just that art.

After all Laffite, what are you going to do when Vautrin and I start to talk about Rimbaud?

Which reminds me, in one of my graduate French literature classes we watched the movie where DiCaprio played Rimbaud- - a profoundly explicit film.

I went to the apartment in Bruxelles where Rimbaud et Verlaine had their little incident. It's near La Grande Place in Brussels. They have a little plaque on the door commemorating it, believe it or not.

#15 laffite

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 09:19 PM

I just can't see Baudelaire chalking a pentagram on his floor,

lighting candles and chanting something in pig Latin. What

we might call a practicing Satanist. But it does appear that

Satan had some meaning for him, exactly what I don't know.

No doubt there are a number of interpretations of Satan's place

in his poetry. I do remember one critic remarking that CB was

just turning his childhood Catholicism on its head and in a

simplistic way, making Satan just another stick figure. I'm sure

some of the modern biographies discuss the subject in more

detail.

 

Les Litanies de Satan By Charles Baudelaire

 

==

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

"Les Litanies de Satan" ("The Litanies of Satan") is a poem by Charles Baudelaire, published as part of Les Fleurs du mal. The date of composition is unknown, but there is no evidence that it was composed at a different time to the other poems of the volume.[1]

 

The poem is a renunciation of religion, and Catholicism in particular.[2] It includes a blasphemous inversion of the Kyrie Eleison and the Glory Be, parts of the Catholic Mass,[3] or it substitutes Satan for Mary and liturgy directed towards her.[4] Swinburne called it the key to Les Fleurs du mal.[4] The poet empathizes with Satan, who has also experienced injustice[5] and can have pity for those who are outcasts. But for political reasons, Baudelaire had to preface the poem with a note explaining he had no personal allegiance with Satan.[6] Even so, Les Fleurs du mal led to him and his publishers being fined for "insult to public decency".

 

The poem is an inspiration to Satanists to this day.[7]

 

==

 

I saw the name "Satan" in the title quite by chance in a book of poems and looked it up. The line in Bold (my emphasis for purposes here of course) might be a little misleading, it's possible that B really did not have allegiance with Satan (despite being irreligious). Milton in Paradise Lost represents Satan as expelled because he was contrary to God but he was also represented as a Rebel, which is thematically important to Romantic Poets in general who hearkened back to Milton for this. Baudelaire, as you know, did not like the Establishment (if you will) and thought that there was more to life than the prettified notion of accepted normalcy (and here against religion). I don't think that he was a Satanist, per se., and shame on the Satanist today who try to co-opt B for their miserable purposes.

 

I'm deciding against printing out the poem because the poem might be scandalous to the devout even today. Am I being too scrupulous? I hope not and it would be nice to think that discretion is not a thing of the past. And as we all know, the poem is available on the Net.

 

PS I remember a novel in the first person who periodically refers to his "Baudelaire period." Perhaps a rebellious period, though could mean many things. That's all I remember about the book.

 

..



#16 Vautrin

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 04:48 PM

He did however mention Satan in his verses ... for instance in the poem below that we looked at ...

 

Si tu n'as fait ta rhétorique

Chez Satan, le rusé doyen,

...

 

...So what exactly did he mean? A symbol of the darker aspects of this vision? The wicki page for B mentions the word "Satan" just once and in a sentence where they say "...alleged Satanism." It might be fun to research 'Satanism according to Baudelaire'. (so maybe I will).

 

Did the biographies say anything?

I just can't see Baudelaire chalking a pentagram on his floor,

lighting candles and chanting something in pig Latin. What

we might call a practicing Satanist. But it does appear that

Satan had some meaning for him, exactly what I don't know.

No doubt there are a number of interpretations of Satan's place

in his poetry. I do remember one critic remarking that CB was

just turning his childhood Catholicism on its head and in a

simplistic way, making Satan just another stick figure. I'm sure

some of the modern biographies discuss the subject in more

detail.


  • laffite likes this

Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#17 laffite

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 04:48 PM

***

 

Poetry is a sort of homecoming.

 

-Paul Celan, poet and translator (1920-1970)

 

***

 

Thoughts?



#18 laffite

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 02:38 AM

CB wrote a few "happy" poems, both in verse and in his poems

in prose, but they are definitely in the minority. For a long time

Baudelaire had the reputation of being mad, a Satanist, etc.,

which were superficial views that many people lapped up, perhaps

not knowing any better. This simplistic view had been replaced,

for the most part, by a more nuanced and realistic portrait.

This isn't to say that he wasn't acquainted with the more

perilous mores and lifestyles of Paris, just that there is so much

more to his work and life than that.

 

He did however mention Satan in his verses ... for instance in the poem below that we looked at ...

 

Si tu n'as fait ta rhétorique

Chez Satan, le rusé doyen,

...

 

...So what exactly did he mean? A symbol of the darker aspects of this vision? The wicki page for B mentions the word "Satan" just once and in a sentence where they say "...alleged Satanism." It might be fun to research 'Satanism according to Baudelaire'. (so maybe I will).

 

Did the biographies say anything?



#19 Vautrin

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 05:10 PM

CB wrote a few "happy" poems, both in verse and in his poems

in prose, but they are definitely in the minority. For a long time

Baudelaire had the reputation of being mad, a Satanist, etc.,

which were superficial views that many people lapped up, perhaps

not knowing any better. This simplistic view had been replaced,

for the most part, by a more nuanced and realistic portrait.

This isn't to say that he wasn't acquainted with the more

perilous mores and lifestyles of Paris, just that there is so much

more to his work and life than that.


Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#20 laffite

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Posted 03 September 2016 - 03:49 AM

Laffite-- Anywhere out of this world was the poem that we usually read in class-- and I believe the English title is the title of the French poem.

Les fleurs du mal-- is primarily maligned because of the lesbian content.

If I recall correctly, they actually seized the copies and closed down the printer.

Baudelaire had to flee to Belgium where he tried to make a living giving lectures.

But the worsening condition of his syphilis caused him to collapse and he was sent home to die.

I found his life very interesting to study, but I also found his poetry very difficult to understand.

As a consequence I think I spent more time with Verlaine. I can relate to it a little better.

 

Tap, I, too, don't understand Baulelaire's poems in any real valid sense. I haven't studied him and actually know very little about him. You are all saying things that I don't know. Baudelaire came to me through the voice of Louis Jourdain. In College studying French I ran across an LP where he and a lady recited a number of his poems. I can't remember her name but she delivered the poems in that sort of lilting, traditional, sing-songy way that did not appeal to me (B would have hated it imo, ha). Jourdan's renditions reminded me of Lawrence Olivier doing Shakespeare. Unlike the beautiful deliveries of Gilguid (sp?) Olivier wanted to get away of the lofty poetry recitation aspect and emphasized the lines with a modern delivery. There was an edge to it and that's what Jourdain does. Wonderful, thrilling even, and many of them are available on you tube.. I used to mimic his manner and committed about 10 to 15 of my faves to memory and I know them still. The ones I like seem fairly straightforward (on a surface level anyway) and I feel I have at least a working and intuitive understand of what's going on. I may be corrected on this but I have never taken his references to Satanism as any kind of ritual cult proceeding that we might see today. I always took it as a symbol of some the darker aspects of his poetic vision. You biography readers do correct me, au fond, Je n'en sais rien.

 

Tap, L'invitation au Voyage is the only happy poem he ever penned, so I read some time ago. Several composers have put it to song, notably Henri DuParc and Emmanual Chabrier.

 

I would like to do another dual-language Baudelarie poem here, if it's not too far off the beaten path for this thread.

 

Note: During an Introduction to Shakespeare class way back there the professeur, after telling us to forget about even trying to find something wrong about Sheakespare ("You'll never find it.") he then began talking a tort et travers about other poets in general and during which he called Baudelaire "a madman." Even though my knowledge was scarce I had the sensibility to be appalled and I spoke with him after class, saying that as impressionable students (most of were young)  he oughtn't say anything so blatantly negative and in such terms. I would like to tell you he ironed it out in the next session but I don't remember.

 

In German class, an Austrian born professor was rambling about and called the music of Mahler, "Shrecklich!" I did the same with him, seriously, a teacher shouldn't say that. It's hard enough to get people to listen without having entire classrooms having their minds poisoned for life.

 

Parbleu, la vie est dur.






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