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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fine Poetic Fundamentals


“My feeling is that poetry will wither on the vine if you don't regularly come back to the simplest fundamentals of the poem: rhythm, rhyme, simple subjects - love, death, war.” – James Fenton

Born this week in 1949, English poet, journalist and literary critic Fenton is a former Oxford Professor of Poetry.   The author of more than two dozen books of poetry, he also is the original librettist for the musical Les Misérables.      Fenton has been awarded numerous major prizes including sharing the 2015 PEN Pinter Prize for poetry.  For Saturday’s poem, here is,

    The Wind
 
This is the wind, the wind in a field of corn.
Great crowds are fleeing from a major disaster
Down the green valleys, the long swaying wadis,
Down through the beautiful catastrophe of wind.

Families, tribes, nations, and their livestock
Have heard something, seen something. An expectation
Or a gigantic misunderstanding has swept over the hilltop
Bending the ear of the hedgerow with stories of fire and sword.

I saw a thousand years pass in two seconds.
Land was lost, languages rose and divided.
This lord went east and found safety.
His brother sought Africa and a dish of aloes.

Centuries, minutes later, one might ask
How the hilt of a sword wandered so far from the smithy.
And somewhere they will sing: 'Like chaff we were borne
In the wind. ' This is the wind in a field of corn.



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