Poetry Notes

Desmond Dunn

Painter and poet. His poems are rich in insinuations from the cultures of many centuries and countries. His best known painting, Desolee, illustrates the cover of the Penguin edition of Aliens and Alienists by Littlewood and Lipsedge.

Desmond attaches the following key to his poem

Soma: Drink of the Hindu Gods

Samhadi: Advanced state of being to Buddhists

"Then, suddenly, a Flower appears" refers to the TAO's Changpu - a mystic flower that blossoms once in a thousand years.

David Kessel's poetry

Hungry voices of
David Kessel:
Singing from hillside.
Singing on pavement.
Singing of sea.
A seagull sweeping the
Streets of Hackney, sees
A Vixen, in Stepney,
Hunting her words in the alleys.
Whilst a bramble pip,
Carried in her fur from the hillsides,
Sprouting from coffee stirred in a Brick Lane cafe,
Draws blood through Dalston and Homerton:
As David's city sounds are carried,
Ravanous to the resounding hills, and hungry
In the mouths of seagulls
Echoing over the waves.

Rhyme and reason

In modern English rhyming poetry the last words of one line strike the same note as the last word of another:

In Wangari's Swahili poem, the ringing note carries on from the end of one line to the beginning of another:
    Nani mganga Tausi
    Kalimanjila - La
    Lala salama - Ma
    Mama mzazi - zi
    Zizi la ng'ombe - mbe
    Mbele ya nyumba - mba ...
You can, of course, do the same in English. For example:
    The sun shines bright
    Brilliant in the sky
    Scattering the birds
    Burdening the women
    Working in the sun
Wangari's poem is good for singing and dancing to. Give your hips a good wriggle.

In old English poems the ends of the lines have no ringing tone. Instead there is a note (or two) in the first part of a line that has a similar sound to a note in the second half. The note is based on the beginning of the word, and any vowel rings with any other:

    Tha middungeard moncynnaes uard,
    eci dryctin, aefter tiadae
    firum foldu, frea allmectig.

But the ringing tone in verse does not have to be in a regular position. Rhyme that floats free (free-rhyme) also touches a verse with melody. Read aloud these two verses from Frieda Hughes' poem In Peace and see if you can hear the ring of rhymes within the lines.

    My lover is dead, at last.
    His head in my lap, his hair
    As yellow as grass. His weight
    Has kept me rooted
    For his creek and his green.

    Only his parrots and kookaburras had speech.
    In between, fires made them
    Little more than fox dinner. And my trees withered. With them, I lost my words.

The Rhythm of Damp Grass and Nursery Rhymes

The most English poetry is like damp grass. Some of it short and freshly cut. Some of it coarse and lank. Damp grass poetry goes de bong, de bong, de bong, de bong, de bong/ de bong, de bong, de bong, de bong, de bong; etc. With variation. Sometimes four de bongs to a line; sometimes five.

Nursery rhyme poetry is much more exciting. It is knee jogging jolly variations on Bong de, bong de, bong de, bong. Or Bong de bong, Bong bong de bong/ De bong, De bong, De bong de/ Bong de bong, De bong, De bong/ De bong, De bong, De bong de/ etc

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down, and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Damp grass poetry has a weaker, more monotonous rhythm. The poetry of damp grass is brought to your attention by varying this basic, repetitious, movement. As when a hand brushes your leg, instead of passing the cucumber sandwiches.

Here is some damp grass poetry from Robert Graves:

His woven world drops back; and he,
Sans providence, sans memory,
Unconscious and directly driven,
Fades to some dank sufficient heaven.

The third line brushes the leg, denying it meant to. Nature is responsible. Notice the fish swimming in the middle of sufficient. (Yes. Say it aloud). This is clever stuff, because the poem is about a fish. But not as clever as nursery rhymes. The poems of Robert Graves are carefully preserved in books. Poem aquariums. Nursery rhymes swim through wild seas across generations of parents and children.

Understanding poetry by rolling over in clover

Reading poetry should reward you with itself, but not necessarily with meaning. A poem in a language you do not know, may reward you with the feeling of its words. A poem in a language you thought you know, may be in a foreign language to you, and also feel good. People who write poems do not always know what they mean, and the simplest of poems can have multiple meanings. The following poem illustrates many of these points. Do you know what it means?

Ring-a-ring o' roses
A pocket full of posies
A-tishoo. A-tishoo.
We all fall down.

Poems are fields full of flowers that, every now and then, explode inside you. Sometimes they explode with meaning, sometimes with the thrill of the feel. Take your picnic to the fields, eat it with your friends, roll in the clover, and see what happens.

Poetry Index

A Chair
After the Battle
Ah! Sun-flower
A Herb Garden
An angry beat
An Atheist's Prayer
Angel's Music
A night at the movies
Anti-depressant imagination
A Song of Creation
Autumn leaves
Bird's Nests
Birthdays ball game
Black Raven
Box without a bottom
Breathe a prayer
Britain's honourable anthem
Burying Johnny
Celebrating feet
Centre of Beauty
Chanson D'Automne
Charles Dickens
Coffee Bar poetry
Come Lasses and Lads
Core Arts
Cosy poems from Joan Hughes
Christmas Cactus
Cuccu Song
Dance of the flowers
David Bishop
David Kessel
Desmond Dunn
Don't do that
Early March, 1941
Early One Morning
Elinour Rumminge
Exploring rhythm
Emily Bronte
Every Little Movement
Every living thing
Flowers from Kentish Town
Friendly Dog
Funeral dance
Gloria in Excelsis
German poems
Grandchildren's letters
Grandmother Emmie
Hand exercises
Heinrich Heine
Hillside, Llangattock
Hungry for the crocus
Healing kisses
Hogs in Iowa
Horses Hooves
I am a flame
Images of you
Inner circle
John Kenny
Krazy Kats n Dogs Klub
Kubla Khan
Lake Meadows
Late night
Les Lilas et Les Roses
Life Against Death
Life's energy
Links to other sites
Listening, looking and feeling
Love life ball game
Marx on love
Milton on verse and wisdom
Mistress Margery Wentworth
Montbretia and golden rod
Morning prayer
Music of the Spheres
Nicola Funnell
Night and day
No Reflection
Ocean of God's Love
Old Age
Old Folk's Home
'Ouses in Between
Passionate Tea
Pease pudding
Pictures in the Fire
Play of the Year
Pleasant desire
Poem for black rage
poetry @ brick lane
Pounding Steel and Plastic Spoon
Prescription Please
Read aloud
Rivers of Water
Robin alone
Rough Garden
Samuel Harris
Sam's Valentine
Sand in the bathroom
Schneckenhause (snail house)
Silent World
Silver ferns
Silver shadows of Valerie Argent
Similar yet not
Singing of the creation
Snakes and Ladders
Sound of Silence
stars above
St Augustine's festival day
Stroking Cosy
Student Support
Summer Rain
Sunflower Sutra
Tausi (Peacock)
The Cat
The cat and the mouse
The Computer
The Donkey
The Futile Stake
The last notes
The manual
The Millennium Resolution
The Morning Dream
The news
The Prisoner
The Rolling English Road
The Sacred Fire
The Thinking Cat
The Vixen
The Song of the Famine
Theory of Everything
Therapeutic Rhythms
Touch us gently, gentle Time!
Turkish time
Understanding Poetry
Valerie Argent's poems
Vicious Circle
Wave rock
Wel bore da
Where I Am
Who am I?

Poetry read aloud in Hackney

Core Arts

Krazy Kats n Dogs Klub

Poetry and music at:
    Chats Palace
    42-44 Brooksby Walk
    E9 6DF
Every second Tuesday from 8pm to 11.30pm. The first part is what they call "open microphone" when "floor spots are welcomed and encouraged". This means you can bring your own (or someone else's) poetry to read, bring a guitar or some other musical instrument to play, or do something else to entertain the audience in this friendly community pub.

Razz (020 8808 6595) is the source of information and inspiration on Krazy Kats n Dogs. He also maintains a short poem on his answerphone.

Krazy Kats n Dogs Klub Guest Artists

Floor slots always welcome

Tuesday 8.5.2001
Frank Bangay and others

Tuesday 22.5.2001
The Astronauts
Unusual and challenging songs in a variety of musical styles.
Simon the Moog
Quirky Poetry for Rock'n'Roll Animals

Poetry links outside this site
Andrew Roberts' web Study Guide
Picture introduction to this site
Top of Page Silver shadows Naked Snails
Cosy Hungering Snakes and Ladders
Cuccu Songs and Caroling Eurhythmy - Therapeutic Rhythms

If you think that I you have caught within a maze: Be amazed. You too could be a poem and escape. Whatever life's tricks, and, wherever you roam, you are never far from home

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