I stopped at the gate of a rich city. I had everything the gods required; I was ready; the burdens of preparation had been long. And the moment was the right moment, the moment assigned to me. Why were you afraid ? The moment was the right moment; response must be ready. On my lips, the words trembled that were the right words. Trembled- And I knew that if I failed to answer quickly enough, I would be turned away.
Durham Cathedral engraving by William Miller after J M W Turner, published in Picturesque Views in England and Wales. From Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, engraved under the superintendence of Mr. Charles Heath with descriptive and historic illustrations by H.E. Lloyd. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838. Rawlinson 297
I can’t sleep in case a few things you said no longer apply. The matter’s endless, but definitions alter what’s ahead and you and words are like a hare and tortoise. Aaaagh there’s no description — each a fractal sectioned by silences, we have our own skins to feel through and fall back through — awful to make so much of something so unknown. But even I — some shower-swift commitments are all you’ll get; I mustn’t gauge or give more than I take — which is a way to balance between misprision and belief in love both true and false, because I’m only just short of a word to be the first to trust.
byAlice Oswaldfrom The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (Oxford 1996).
I am adding here the Library Thing link for The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile by Alice Oswald. I wrote a brief polemic last week about the decision of the two poets , Alice Oswald and John Kinsella, to leave theT.S Eliot Prize, but I do hope that people will do their own reading on the issues surrounding their decisions. There are a some sonnets on this blog and a few of these are taken from the magnificent Norton Anthology, The Making of a Sonnet, edited by Eavan Bolandand Edward Hirsch , which I’d recommend to lovers of the sonnet form.
My future will not copy fair my past- I wrote that once; and thinking at my side My ministering life-angel justified The word by his appealing look upcast To the white throne of God, I turned at last, And ther, instead, saw thee , not unallied To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried By natural ills, received the comfort fast, While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim’s staff Gave out green leaves with morning dew impearled. I seek no copy now of life’s first half: Leave here the pages with long musing curled, And write me my new future’s epigraph, New angel mine, unhoped for in the world!
Of course Elizabeth Barrett Browning‘s rhyme schemes drove the literary establishment cracked, the mention of her name for the Laureateship ( after the death ofWordsworth) was not truly in earnest but it was good discussions began…..
The Sonnets from the Portuguese were written to Robert and handed to him after their elopement , when he was in deep grief over a death in his family. and 341 years after the name of Barret-Browning was mentioned in jest for the British Laureateship, the cycle of male-domination of these laurels was broken by Carol Ann Duffy in 2009 !