The Poetry Thread

I’ve recently developed a strong interest in poetry, which began as a side-project to improve my prose. In studying men like Shakespeare and Dante, however, I discovered an art form that was totally new to me in light of what is incorrectly called “poetry” in the modern world.

I decided to create this thread as a place where we can share and discover true, Logos-infused poetry with one another and raise the quality of our collective minds.

Thus far nothing has come close to the Divine Comedy for me, and I’m not even out of the “Inferno” yet. I’ve also developed a love of HW Longfellow, whose poem “A Psalm Of Life” I’m currently memorizing as a way to drill it more deeply into my heart and soul.

Is there any traditional, high-tier poetry you’ve found that you think would be useful and appropriate to read and study?
 
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Knowing that Beatrice was married made it difficult for me to appreciate The Divine Comedy as a moral masterpiece. I did enjoy it though.

My favorite poet is Fr. Abram Joseph Ryan, a Roman Catholic chaplain from the civil war. "St. Stephen" really blew me away, but all of his poems that I've read have been excellent. I'm about halfway through his Poems, Patriotic and Religious right now, just doing one a day so I can read them aloud and really savor each one.

Not a poetry book, but I found The Allegory of Love by C.S. Lewis very helpful for understanding the themes of chivalry, and the way it parodies Christianity, in old poetry.
 

Matianus

Sparrow
Dante's love of Beatrice could be described courtly love. He was in admiration of her goodness, not her beauty or sexuality. He thought her to be a saint. The real question is did he make a false god out of her, or was she a powerful reminder of his own faith (and muse to create one of the greatest works in all of literature)?
 
Yeah, Dante must have left that part out of the poem. Did they end up married in the long run or was he just chasing a married woman forever?

They never got married; I think they only met a couple of times.

The real question is did he make a false god out of her, or was she a powerful reminder of his own faith (and muse to create one of the greatest works in all of literature)?

I don't think he made a false god out of her, and to his credit he expressed his desire for her through poetry instead of trying to hook up with her behind her husband's back.
 
I’ve just discovered the Society Of Classical Poets, a group of people writing classical poetry that appears to be mostly Christian in nature. None of the poems on the site curse or promote degeneracy. Not all the poems are great but some are, and they’re all using proper form to the best of their ability (no broken prose pretending to be poetry). I’m gonna submit some stuff and see if they like it.

If you’re interested the site is here:

 
One poem I've liked for a while is The Man From Snowy River by Banjo Patterson. A tale of physical courage in the Australian outback. For some reason the meter was initially difficult for me to figure out, but as soon as I realized it alternated between 4 stress and 3 stress lines everything fell into place and it sounded lovely. One line, in particular, has stayed with me for a long time: "The man that holds his own is good enough."

I "learned" about poetry meter when I was a kid, but it didn't stick with me because I never heard people read interesting poems out loud properly. It's amazing the difference actually hearing a poem makes.
 

bucky

Ostrich
I’ve recently developed a strong interest in poetry, which began as a side-project to improve my prose. In studying men like Shakespeare and Dante, however, I discovered an art form that was totally new to me in light of what is incorrectly called “poetry” in the modern world.

I decided to create this thread as a place where we can share and discover true, Logos-infused poetry with one another and raise the quality of our collective minds.

Thus far nothing has come close to the Divine Comedy for me, and I’m not even out of the “Inferno” yet. I’ve also developed a love of HW Longfellow, whose poem “A Psalm Of Life” I’m currently memorizing as a way to drill it more deeply into my heart and soul.

Is there any traditional, high-tier poetry you’ve found that you think would be useful and appropriate to read and study?

I read the Divine Comedy in Italian when I was in college. It's astoundingly written, to a level that it's difficult to comprehend that a human being could write something like that. That said, I've come to think of Dante as the original pussy pedastalizer and imagine that a lot of the guilt for that particular defect in modern western men can be placed squarely at his feet.

I'm pretty obsessed with languages both modern and ancient. For a while I was very into Old English poetry, from the early medieval England before the Norman invasion of 1066. If you're of Anglo-Saxon orign it resonates strongly. Most of it is about war and religion, and it's very manly if somewhat dark. My favorite is probably the Wanderer, about the misery of a wandering warrior who is the only survivor of an ambush. He eventually concludes that he'll only ever truly find peace in God.

http://www.anglo-saxons.net/hwaet/?do=get&type=text&id=Wdr
 
I think that one of the most based poems ever written is, The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.

Bit of background: children in primary school, learning to read and write, are sometimes given short sentences to copy over and over as homework. I imagine that in schools these days, the sentences they're copying are like, "all white men are bad" but back when our society was still functional, they'd be copying sentences from the Bible, or other generally wise sayings.

The subject of the poem is, when you forget the wisdom of those old sayings, you will eventually suffer the consequences.

The poem juxtapositions "the gods of the copybook headings" (truth and wisdom) with "the gods of the marketplace" (what people desire - what feels good). For example, the gods of the marketplace...

promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

What a powerful passage! The gods of the marketplace, pandering to your laziness and envy of the rich, promise that you too can be rich by simply taking money away from them. It's describing socialism and communism! But then you find that, even though everyone is equal on paper, nothing of value is being produced in society so there's nothing you can actually buy with your money.

And then the old gods - the gods of the copybook headings - truth and wisdom - return and remind you "if you don't work, you die."

The entire poem is just that amazing. There's criticism of feminism in there too, and keep in mind, this was written in 1920 when "feminism" meant little more than the right to vote:

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

1920! One hundred years ago! This is so prophetic I wonder if he wasn't from the future!

"The first Feminian Sandstones" (early feminist theory and claims - note that they're written on sandstone because they're not going to last) "we were promised the Fuller Life" (not "a fuller life" - it's capitalized to ridicule it. The Fuller Life (tm) - it's a product you're being sold. "Give up your traditions and the virtue of your wives and daughters in the name of feminism, and in exchange you'll have this Fuller Life that we're showing you in hollywood movies").

"Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife" - it starts off as something you recognize: love thy neighbor. But the biblical text means a brotherly love. It's twisted and perverted into the other meaning (sexual) so that it can be directed at a woman. "Love thy neighbor's wife" isn't in the bible, but 100 years ago Kipling could see it as a consequence of feminism.

Erase the distinctions between men and women and you destroy the concept of brotherly love. You destroy the idea that you can love someone without it being sexual. In addition to hating on men's groups and clubs, society today ridicules the very concept, calling it "gay" or a "bromance." So the only love you know is the sexual kind, and everyone is the same and everyone is free and can do what they want - why not love your neighbor's wife? Why not let your wife make you a cuck? This is Fuller Life (tm) right?

"Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith" - seriously. Was this guy from the future? This is exactly what has happened to our society. This guy lived in a time when all feminism said was, "come on! Let us vote!" and he projected it forward 100 years to a time when women aren't faithful (sleeping with their neighbors), they don't have children, and men have lost faith in it all.

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

Yep. Seriously. The entire poem is amazing. Here's a link. It's worth you taking the time to study it in detail. http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm
 
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Aboulia

Robin
I think that one of the most based poems ever written is, The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.

Bit of background: children in primary school, learning to read and write, are sometimes given short sentences to copy over and over as homework. I imagine that in schools these days, the sentences they're copying are like, "all white men are bad" but back when our society was still functional, they'd be copying sentences from the Bible, or other generally wise sayings.

The subject of the poem is, when you forget the wisdom of those old sayings, you will eventually suffer the consequences.

The poem juxtapositions "the gods of the copybook headings" (truth and wisdom) with "the gods of the marketplace" (what people desire - what feels good). For example, the gods of the marketplace...



What a powerful passage! The gods of the marketplace, pandering to your laziness and envy of the rich, promise that you too can be rich by simply taking money away from them. It's describing socialism and communism! But then you find that, even though everyone is equal on paper, nothing of value is being produced in society so there's nothing you can actually buy with your money.

And then the old gods - the gods of the copybook headings - truth and wisdom - return and remind you "if you don't work, you die."

The entire poem is just that amazing. There's criticism of feminism in there too, and keep in mind, this was written in 1920 when "feminism" meant little more than the right to vote:



1920! One hundred years ago! This is so prophetic I wonder if he wasn't from the future!

"The first Feminian Sandstones" (early feminist theory and claims - note that they're written on sandstone because they're not going to last) "we were promised the Fuller Life" (not "a fuller life" - it's capitalized to ridicule it. The Fuller Life (tm) - it's a product you're being sold. "Give up your traditions and the virtue of your wives and daughters in the name of feminism, and in exchange you'll have this Fuller Life that we're showing you in hollywood movies").

"Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife" - it starts off as something you recognize: love thy neighbor. But the biblical text means a brotherly love. It's twisted and perverted into the other meaning (sexual) so that it can be directed at a woman. "Love thy neighbor's wife" isn't in the bible, but 100 years ago Kipling could see it as a consequence of feminism.

Erase the distinctions between men and women and you destroy the concept of brotherly love. You destroy the idea that you can love someone without it being sexual. In addition to hating on men's groups and clubs, society today ridicules the very concept, calling it "gay" or a "bromance." So the only love you know is the sexual kind, and everyone is the same and everyone is free and can do what they want - why not love your neighbor's wife? Why not let your wife make you a cuck? This is Fuller Life (tm) right?

"Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith" - seriously. Was this guy from the future? This is exactly what has happened to our society. This guy lived in a time when all feminism said was, "come on! Let us vote!" and he projected it forward 100 years to a time when women aren't faithful (sleeping with their neighbors), they don't have children, and men have lost faith in it all.

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

Yep. Seriously. The entire poem is amazing. Here's a link. It's worth you taking the time to study it in detail. http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

It's my favourite as well, I really love this reading of it. [youtube] [/youtube]
 

Parabola

Sparrow
This is a short and simple English folk poem but one that I find quite evocative nonetheless:

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows
What are those blue remembered hills? What spires, what farms are those?

It is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain
Those happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

(Into my heart an air that kills by A.E. Housman)
 
(Into my heart an air that kills by A.E. Housman)

Also one of my favorites. I even remember where I first heard it: Peter Hitchens was on a panel about education, and predictably, the leftists "progressives" on the panel define "progress" as turning away from all tradition, bashing your own culture (though everybody else's culture is beyond reproach), and generally hating all things Western Civilization. So of course, the leftists don't want children to be taught poems written by Englishmen.

A leftist in the audience ridicules the idea of poems having any value by challenging the panel to recite one and explain why it's important to them. One by one, the panel answers and of course, none of them actually recite a poem. Most of them toe the progressive line and say that we need to let teachers teach ...whatever they want, I guess.

And then it's Peter Hitchens' turn. He hits it out of the park. Not only does he recite that poem, but he gives a very compelling reason why learning it is important.


Leftism is evil. They are literally trying to take away your past - your history - your culture.
 

Parabola

Sparrow
Also one of my favorites. I even remember where I first heard it: Peter Hitchens was on a panel about education, and predictably, the leftists "progressives" on the panel define "progress" as turning away from all tradition, bashing your own culture (though everybody else's culture is beyond reproach), and generally hating all things Western Civilization. So of course, the leftists don't want children to be taught poems written by Englishmen.

A leftist in the audience ridicules the idea of poems having any value by challenging the panel to recite one and explain why it's important to them. One by one, the panel answers and of course, none of them actually recite a poem. Most of them toe the progressive line and say that we need to let teachers teach ...whatever they want, I guess.

And then it's Peter Hitchens' turn. He hits it out of the park. Not only does he recite that poem, but he gives a very compelling reason why learning it is important.


Leftism is evil. They are literally trying to take away your past - your history - your culture.

These are exactly the same circumstances under which I heard the poem.
 
Here's a poem about the wall:

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.”


- When You Are Old - W.B.Yeats

This poem is pretty brutal. It's meant to be written in a book that you give as a gift to a woman. She accepts it without reading it and thinks it's a victory for her that a man gave her a gift - then she goes on about her life. But when she's old, and alone, she opens the book to read it, hoping to revel in her past victories ...and she finds this.

She's "old and grey" and she "dreams of the soft look her eyes had once" - frankly, that's the fate of so many women on the carousel today. They'll have nothing, but will dream of the beauty of their youth, which is long gone. The glory of the flower (another poem for another post, perhaps).

"How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true?" - that sentence is going to feel like a knife stab to an old woman who has nothing at all to show from her decades of promiscuity. "How many people loved you?" A lot. "With love false" - the men whose love was false; they only wanted sex - "or true" - men who actually truly loved you. The answer is, a lot. A lot of men loved her. but she's alone now. She favored the men whose love was false, and turned away the men whose love was true. This makes her a fool.

"And bending down beside the glowing bars, murmur, a little sadly, how love fled" - when you're old and all you have is a fire to keep your bones warm, you'll murmur about "where are all the good men?" - about how love fled from you, as you got old.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
'High Flight'
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high unsurpassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee. John Gillespie Magee Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941)[1][2][3] was a World War II Anglo-American Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot and poet, who wrote the poem High Flight. He was killed in an accidental mid-air collision over England in 1941.
 

Enea

Newbie
A Nation’s Strength

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly, —
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.


- William Ralph Emerson, not to be confused with his cousin Ralph Waldo Emerson.
 

EndlessGravity

Kingfisher
You may enjoy John Donne, who was a poet and preacher in the 1600s. He's best know for his extended metaphors and some of his poems on love, although a touch naughty, are really really good.

The Decameron by Boccaccio is a prose piece I recommend. 100 stories and set during the Black Death. Fair warning, some are rather crude but the work influenced hundreds of years of literature.
 
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