Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lyric Lunacy . . .

I found this lunar image online after reading the statement below by Mary Ruefle:
The great lunacy of most lyric poems is that they attempt to use words to convey what cannot be put into words. (Mary Ruefle, "Poetry and the Moon," in Madness, Rack, and Honey, Seattle and New York: Wave Books, 2012, page 15)
Only most? Some lyrics escape that moon-bound madness? They suffer some lunacy of another sort? What of this following poem by Yeats, does it madly try putting into words what cannot be put into words? Or does it uncannily succeed?
The Cat and the Moon

W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

The cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.
I, too, am somewhat moon-maddened . . . or have been:
Winter Moon

H.J. Hodges

When the moon rose full from the hills,
It raised trees of the night:
Black trees,
Shadow trees,
Trees of burnt bone.
I thought of holocausts
And hands raised in supplication
Before the altar of an unknown god.
I thought of dead ones risen from the dust,
Multitudes waiting for sinews, and skin.
I saw each hold his lonely place.
I saw it was the world's untimely end.
That was a lunar year, that year, that 1985 . . .

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At 7:13 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Your poem, or part of it, seems to evoke Ezekiel. Veddy intellesting.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, it does, intentionally. Also Acts.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:12 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Ah, yes: Mars Hill and the Unknown God.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

As long as we're getting cosmic . . . I'm more curious about the valley of Venus and the unknown goddess!

Jeffery Hodges

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