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gailcalled's avatar

What flutherer might you think of when reading certain poems?

Asked by gailcalled (54524points) September 19th, 2010

I have found some very evocative poetry about the goose. (See first answer). Of course, our resident goose girl sprang to mind.

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18 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

THE GOOSE Muriel Sparks

Do you want to know why I am alive today?
I will tell you.
Early on, during the food-shortage,
Some of us were miraculously presented
Each with a goose that laid a golden egg.
Myself, I killed the cackling thing and I ate it.
Alas, many and many of the other recipients
Died of gold dust poisoning.

And this, and

For @Coloma

gailcalled's avatar

And this:

TO A GOOSE Robert Southey

If thou didst feed on western plains of yore
Or waddle wide with flat and flabby feet
Over some Cambrian mountain’s plashy moor,
Or find in farmer’s yard a safe retreat
From gipsy thieves and foxes sly and fleet;
If thy grey quills by lawyer guided, trace
Deeds big with ruin to some wretched race,
Or love-sick poet’s sonnet, sad and sweet,
Wailing the rigour of some lady fair;
Or if, the drudge of housemaid’s daily toil,
Cobwebs and dust thy pinion white besoil,
Departed goose! I neither know nor care.
But this I know, that thou wert very fine,
Seasoned with sage and onions and port wine.

janbb's avatar

Hawaii_jake and I share a passion for Eliot’s Four Quartets.

Coloma's avatar



Love it! ;-)

But..shhhhh…don’t let Marwyn hear of the port wine and sage and onions.

Do not bathe my sad remains in a citrus glaze…..

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: Sorry I wasn’t clearer. I was speaking of thematic associations rather than similar tastes.

For example, I would use poems about librarians, love of books and the Jersey shore for you if I knew a few off-hand.

janbb's avatar

Aha – need to put my thinking cap on then.

MacBean's avatar

There was a poem I read a few months ago that made me think of Jeruba so much that I had to send it to her. I don’t remember what it was, and I can’t seem to find it now, though. :(

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, dear, I’m sorry, @MacBean, but I can’t find it either. Was it a PM or a post? I went back three months in PMs.

janbb's avatar

Lapis lazuli by Yeats is one that puts me in mind of the elegant and discerning Jeruba.

MacBean's avatar

@Jeruba It was a PM. And I remember I heard the poem on The Writer’s Almanac, so if I really really wanted to, I could probably go back through the archives and find it. Actually, that might be a nice relaxing way to wind down later when it starts getting closer to bedtime.

gailcalled's avatar

@MacBean: Please do. What do you remember? It is probably by an American, not too long, not to fanciful, not too structured and not too old.

@janbb: I am really happy to have read your Yeats’ I am not familiar with.

MacBean's avatar

Found it! It’s “The Effort” by Billy Collins.
Would anyone care to join me
in flicking a few pebbles in the direction
of teachers who are fond of asking the question:
“What is the poet trying to say?”

as if Thomas Hardy and Emily Dickinson
had struggled but ultimately failed in their efforts—
inarticulate wretches that they were,
biting their pens and staring out the window for a clue.

Yes, it seems that Whitman, Amy Lowell
and the rest could only try and fail
but we in Mrs. Parker’s third-period English class
here at Springfield High will succeed

with the help of these study questions
in saying what the poor poet could not,
and we will get all this done before
that orgy of egg salad and tuna fish known as lunch.

Tonight, however, I am the one trying
to say what it is this absence means,
the two of us sleeping and waking under different roofs.
The image of this vase of cut flowers,

not from our garden, is no help.
And the same goes for the single plate,
the solitary lamp, and the weather that presses its face
against these new windows—the drizzle and the
morning frost.

So I will leave it up to Mrs. Parker,
who is tapping a piece of chalk against the blackboard,
and her students—a few with their hands up,
others slouching with their caps on backwards—

to figure out what it is I am trying to say
about this place where I find myself
and to do it before the noon bell rings
and that whirlwind of meatloaf is unleashed.

Jeruba's avatar

Why, thank you, @janbb. I am extraordinarily honored by your choice. It has been so long since I last read this poem that it greets me like a new one.

@MacBean, I remember that! It was much longer ago than a few months. It could have been a year or more. We don’t have a very good way of searching back. I thoroughly enjoyed the conceit, as well as the poet’s own meaning at the core. And yes, I’d like to flick a few pebbles, or maybe a brick, at all those teachers who despoil literature by treating it like an allergy test: you submit to a hundred scratches and wait to see if you react to anything, and then they pounce.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s Billy Collins with another self-referential poem. (for all of us who read poetry).

The Trouble with Poetry:

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night—
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky—

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti—
to be perfectly honest for a moment—

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

Jeruba's avatar

This reminds me of a caution I once wrote in a guidebook for fellow editors of newsletters: think twice before you decide to publish poetry; one poem tends to open the floodgates. (It is always a safe assumption that at least 99% of it will be <fill in your noun of choice for something unspeakably awful>.)

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled What a literate, literary thread.

A veritable “diamond in the dust heap.”

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: We few. we happy few, we band of poetry lovers…where are the others?

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