To George Sand
“True genius, but true woman! dost deny
Thy woman’s nature with manly scorn,
And break away the gauds and amulets worn
By weaker women in captivity?
Ah, vain denial! That revolted cry
is sobbed in by a woman’s voice for
Thy woman’s hair, my sister, all unshorn,
Floats back dishevelled strength in agony,
Disproving thy man’s name! and while
The world thou burnest in a poet-fire,
We see the woman heart beat evermore
Through the large flame. Beat purer,
heart, and higher,
Till God unsex thee on the heavenly
Where unincarnate spirits purely aspire.”
The Soul’s Expression
“With stammering lips and insufficent
I strive and struggle to deliver right
That music of my nature day and night
With dream and thought and feeling
And inly answering all the senses round
With octaves of a mystic depth and
Which step out grandly to the infinite
From the dark edges of the sensual
This song of soul I struggle to outbear
Through portals of the sense, sublime
And utter all myself into the air.
But if I did it-as the thunder-roll
breaks its own cloud, my flesh would
Before that dread apocalypse of soul.”
I highly recommend that young women who like poetry get into Mrs Barrett Browning.
Thus far there is a petition , a memorandum/appeal and an article on Irish Arts Council funding to Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude, The Western Writer’s Centre. I am about to collate all these appeals here on this page. Two of three independent and grassroot writers’ centres received 0% funding via the Martin Cullen TD appointed Arts Council, which he appointed under the aegis of the 2003 (Seán O Donoghue) Arts Act: that is what amounts to a Fianna Fáil approach
to arts, heritage and cultural funding.
There is to be a celebration of Poetry and Song on the Hill of Tara on the 24th of August 2008. It will mark the beginning of Heritage Week. I am putting a link onto the blogroll beneath the Ardsallagh Petition which links into the advertisement to the celebrations.
The image attached to this note is one of the emptied graves at Lismullin.
“Nach aoibhinn do na héininí a éiríos go hard
‘s bhíos ag ceiliúr lena chéile ar an chraobh amháin,
ní mar sin dom féin is dom chéad míle grá
is fada óna cheile bhíos ár n-éirí gach lá.
Is báine í ná an lile, is deise í ná an sceimh,
is binne í na an veidhlín , ‘s soilsí ná an ghréin;
is fearr ná sin uile a huaislaeacht s a méin,
‘s a Dhé na flaitheasaibh, fuascail dom phein’
I know how the poet feels, how and ever, the translation bit is provided by Seán ó Tuama/Thomas Kinsella,
from An Duanaire (1600-1900), (Published by Foras na Gaeilge).
I am inserting the trans this evening, but a useful thing to do is to try and get the music of the poem (if you have familiarity with gaeilge or related language) and the sense comes soon enough.
The fáda [ó,á,é,í,ú] lengthens the vowel and softens it so o=ó(h), a (ay) = á(h) etcetera. It reminds me a bit of Hebraic pronunciation of vowels with the nikkudum/dagesh system of emphasis but I am not a linguist.
“Sleep is the only rest we get;
It’s when we are at peace:
We do not have to mop the floor
And wipe away the grease.
We are not chased round the hall
and tumbled in the dirt
by every dimwit nobleman
Who wants a slice of skirt.
And when we sleep we like to dream;
We dream we are at sea,
We sail the waves in golden boats,
So happy , clean and free.
In dreams we are all beautiful
In glossy crimson dresses
We sleep with every man we love,
We shower them with kisses.
They fill our days with feasting
We fill our nights with song,
We take them in our golden boats
and drift the whole year long.
And all is mirth and kindness
There are no tears of pain;
For our decrees are merciful
Throughout our golden reign.
But when the morning wakes us up:
Once more we toil and slave,
And hoist our skirts at their command
For every prick and knave.”
From, Margaret Atwood‘s The Penelopiad. Published by Canongate, 2005.
The maids were bought or acquired for Penelope, and being of the slave class were companions to Telemachus from his infancy to his manhood (and their childhoods).
The maids sing post-mortem tunes interspersed within the narration of Penelope’s tale. They were hung on Odysseus’ return from his adventures. Other maid- songs include a Sea Shanty; and an Idyll to mark Telemachus’ birth.
Poor Maids , always getting the shitty end of the stick !