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March 22, 2019

Comments

Thanks, lj.

Yes, thank you lj.

We need to change our laws so that Jacinda Ahern can serve concurrently as President of the United States AND Prime Minister of New Zealand for as many terms as she has life in her.

Another wonderful poem, lj. Thank you for these piercing shards of crystal you carefully place here, from (necessary) time to time.

Ahern

New Zealand has adult leadership.

Reuben Bright

Because he was a butcher and thereby
Did earn an honest living (and did right),
I would not have you think that Reuben Bright
Was any more a brute than you or I;
For when they told him that his wife must die,
He stared at them, and shook with grief and fright,
And cried like a great baby half that night,
And made the women cry to see him cry.

And after she was dead, and he had paid
The singers and the sexton and the rest,
He packed a lot of things that she had made
Most mournfully away in an old chest
Of hers, and put some chopped-up cedar boughs
In with them, and tore down the slaughter-house.

Edwin Arlington Robinson

joel hanes, I did buy it and read it before at your recommendation, and was glad I did! Thank you for this reminder.

GFTNC: You mean Spoon River Anthology, by Edgar Lee Masters ?

I'm glad you liked it.

Thank you LJ.

Life online the past couple of days has been a process of wading through people complaining because it's never on the front pages when Christians get killed, or complaining because women in NZ are wearing hijabs to show their support for the families of the dead and hijabs are evil symbols of religious fundamentalist patriarchy, and complaining about god knows what else.

A young man full of hate killed 50 people who were taking a minute out of their daily lives to meet together and pray. The things that apparently inspired the young man's hate were themes of fear, resentment, arrogant claims of superiority hiding deep wells of insecurity. Themes that are espoused by our very own leaders, and by the very many organs of bile that we are obliged to be exposed to on a daily basis.

Call the names so that we don't forget that these are just people. People with lives, families, useful livelihoods. People who are loved by others, and who love those others in return. People like us.

joel hanes: well goddamn, I could have sworn I'd read that in Spoon River Anthology! I've certainly read it somewhere, possibly in a comment by you. It just goes to show how unreliable memory can be. Yes, thank you for the recommendation, not the only good recommendation I have gleaned from ObWi over the years.

joel hanes: well goddamn, I could have sworn I'd read that in Spoon River Anthology! I've certainly read it somewhere, possibly in a comment by you. It just goes to show how unreliable memory can be. Yes, thank you for the recommendation, not the only good recommendation I have gleaned from ObWi over the years.

Reuben Bright appears in several popular anthologies of modern poetry. That's where I first found it.

I can't decide whether I like Reuben Bright or not. It's unsettling the way the poet abandons his metre in the last line. And I want to know more about the closure of the slaughter-house.

I don't like Dobyns' poem at all. Why consider violence against the unbereft?

It's unsettling the way the poet abandons his metre in the last line.

I don't think he did abandon it. Is this another episode of two countries separated by a common language?

And anyhow, didn't you mean "meter"? ;-)

To put it a different way, it doesn't seem to me that the last line scans a lot worse than some of the other lines...and grief itself is unsettling, so why not scansion? Maybe it's done on purpose.

But ... perhaps I should revert to silence, except to thank lj for access to the names and pictures of the dead.

Most of the sonnet is written in iambs. The last line isn't.

I'm sure the poet did it on purpose. I'm just not sure that it works for me.

He certainly did it on purpose, and I must say it works for me. The last line still has the same number of syllables, but the stress and the sound of the line seem to me to fall quite differently (I forget what this is called, but Janie with her EngLit PhD could probably tell us), which fits very well with the slightly shocking change from rather lyrical, moving images to (non-coincidentally) a rather brutal image "and tore down the slaughter-house".

Why consider violence against the unbereft?

As for this, I don't feel it myself at all, but it is fairly common I think. I remember reading in an earlyish interview with Nigella Lawson (before she became so careful about how much of her inner self she revealed) when she talked about the early death of her husband (and sister of course), saying how murderous she felt when people complained about the death of an aged parent, because to her that was different (they'd had the "normal" long span, weren't taken so early), and I seem to remember she said something about wanting to kill the complainers in a shockingly violent way (stabbing them in the eye seems to ring a bell, although I wouldn't swear to it and can't find it). I was surprised (had not lost anyone too young yet then, but still don't identify) but tolerant: everybody is entitled to suffer in their own way.

Most of the sonnet is written in iambs. The last line isn't.

Yes, Pro Bono, I knew that's what you meant the first time, and I disagree with it just as much now as I did then.

If I read the poem as I would speak the words conversationally, I count eighteen syllables that don't scan as they would if the entire poem were iambs. Four of those syllables are in the last line, so I grant you that the last line has more than any of the others, by my count, and according to my speech patterns. Two lines have three, three have two, and two have one.

Liking it or not, and the discontinuity in the feel of the imagery, are different questions, and I have nothing to say about them.

As for GftNC's mention of my PhD: it was a long time ago.

As for considering violence against the unbereft: what GftNC said.

I don't want to tell anyone what poetry to like.

My wife died in her late forties. I felt no anger towards people who said ill-considered things. Not because I'm a good person, but because she was.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/22/guns-us-is-just-different-new-zealand/

Thanks for that Pro Bono, that's something to think about. I see your point, but I think we (for multiple values of that pronoun) have a hard time dealing with anger. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I assume that the poet is writing honestly, and that's something he felt, so submerging that seems to be wrong. So I would draw a line between 'considering' (which implies some intellectual engagement) and reporting on what one feels.

I think that it has taken me a long time to deal with anger, both my own and others, and it seems there are times when one needs to get it out and other times when they simply need to tamp it down or even swallow it, no matter how bitter it may seem. There also seems to be a lot of anger floating around, like free radicals that perhaps wreak havoc with health. How to deal is always a question I suppose.

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