Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – According to the Muse (A monologue in 2 parts) Part Two – Born to Die by Paul Andruss


Time for another post  by Paul Andruss who gave us plenty to think about in terms of poetry in part one of According to the Muse yesterday: Part One

According to the Muse (A monologue in 2 parts) Part Two – Born to Die by Paul Andruss

Illustration by Donata Zawadzka

So saith the Muse: Now you see poetry lies in what is written, not how it is written, or even how it looks written, you understand poetry is no mere academic exercise but an irrepressible urge. A writer without passion is naught but a scribbler Pilgrim. Artists have no choice but to strive, for poetry is the soul. And shall I tell you what lies in a poet’s soul?

Pilgrim: No! No you’re ok… That was lovely thanks, but I’ve gotta get…

Muse: It’s a rhetorical question. This is a never-to-be-repeated offer: a lesson from the Muse. You’ll get such a sip from the cauldron of inspiration it will blow your socks off and you’ll never look at a poem in the same way again. And that, my boy, is the first step to becoming a poet.

Pilgrim: Alright then, hit me.

Muse: And don’t think I won’t!

You may believe poetry is all unicorns and rainbows. Wrong. Poetry is fear. Man did not invent poetry Pilgrim. Poetry was birthed in forgotten aeons before man was dragged up from the apes to stand beside the angels. Poetry always existed, unknown and unshaped. Man merely gave it voice, words and reason.

Stripped of language, culture and intellect, poetry is the primal scream of naked panic at descending darkness. Poetry comes from the blind abject terror of believing unless you beseech the gods correctly the sun will not rise tomorrow; the rains will not fall; spring will not come; plants will not grow and the herds will not return.

Predators in Africa make more kills during the new moon. On moonless nights, lion attacks on humans increase threefold. It is not lunacy driving the wolf to howl at the full moon, it is a poetic lament for an empty belly. Does it surprise, man also sings to the goddess Moon and her daughter the hearth fire to keep him safe?

Unlike animals, man knows he is mortal. It drives the two warring forces in his soul. Eros, or lust, is the will to survive no matter what, to seek communion, to create life and art. Thanatos is chaos, death, war, melancholia, and fear.

Man is not simply afraid of death. He dreads when and how it comes. He frets if and how he will be remembered. He believes his only choice is dying ignominious and forgotten, or departing in a blaze of glory.

She died in the upstairs bedroom
By the light of the ev’ning star
That shone through the plate glass window
From over Leamington Spa

Beside her the lonely crochet
Lay patiently and unstirred,
But the fingers that would have work’d it
Were dead as the spoken word.

 Death in Lemington – John Betjeman: https://allpoetry.com/Death-In-Leamington

It is not bad. Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

The Bloody Sire – Robinson Jeffers : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/22770/the-bloody-sire

Pilgrim: Not though I don’t believe you Muse, but what about humour?

Muse: Scared chimpanzees make the same facial expression as a smile and the same sound as a laugh. Why do strangers passing on a narrow track often say hello or excuse themselves with a smile? What is humour if not something to laugh off fear and threat?
Poetry is never humorous Pilgrim, though rhyme often is. Rhyme is a delight. A game of ambiguity and wit played with devices of semantics and grammar to the point of absurdity.

The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag
The reason you will see no doubt
Is to keep the lightning out
But what these unobservant birds
Have failed to notice is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

Christopher Isherwood – Poems Past and Present : https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/christopher_isherwood

According to the Norse Skalds, rhyme is not poetry. Skalds, drunk on poetic mead, considered rhymesters only sipped the drops spilt by Odin as he fled with his stolen prize.

Pilgrim: And what about love? Surely, the greatest poems are love poems.

Muse: Does not the fear of loss, betrayal and rejection haunt love? Ask any mother if she worries over a child. Ask any lover. While some stories end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’, those that don’t, deal with loss.

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

Remembrance – Emily Bronte:  https://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/wh/emily-bronte-poetry.php

Come, walk with me,
There’s only thee
To bless my spirit now –
We used to love on winter nights
To wander through the snow;
Can we not woo back old delights?
The clouds rush dark and wild
They fleck with shade our mountain heights
The same as long ago

Come walk with me – Emily Bronte: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/come-walk-with-me/

All religions offer prayer in song: Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Shinto. Even the angels in heaven sing their praises. Poetry is the source from which all art flows: dance, music, song.

Incantation, meaning to sing and chant, comes from Proto-Indo-European, the ancient mother tongue that gave rise to of Sanskrit, Persian, Slavic, Celtic and the other European languages. The Proto-Indo-European word means to speak with the voice of a god. When the gods speak through prophets and poets, the listeners become intoxicated. It is for this reason the Irish God of eloquence, Ogma Sun Face is shown leading men bound with golden chains running from the mouth of one to the ear of the next.

The earliest medieval French poems called lais, meaning ‘songs’ in German and Irish, gave way to chivalric Chansons de Geste or heroic songs. Renaissance poems like Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (Roland’s Madness) and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Liberated) are divided into cantos (songs). Poems and songs still have verses and refrains.

Because gods speak through poets, poetry is not meant to be easy. Poets are held in high regard because they suffer and sacrifice for art. Odin gave an eye at the well of Mimir for a sip of poetic inspiration. Druidic poets took 25 years to learn poetic lore, including scores of epic poems.

Skilled in extempore composition, they drew on myth to make history mythic. Trained in verse form, rhyme, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, symbolism, metaphor, simile and metonymy, irony and other stylistic devices, they intoxicated audiences leaving them drunk on loquaciousness.

Homeric poets could recite 25,000 lines of epic poetry. Lines burn into minds in the fearful knowledge, one misplaced rhyme would cause everything to be irrevocably lost. A practice continued in Greece and Rome as part of a child’s education; learning by heart Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Poetry is meant to be spoken and heard, not read.

Pilgrim: Not read? The world’s oldest written text is a poem. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, written four thousand years ago, Gilgamesh seeks immortality only to learn the gods have made death man’s fate. Writing preserved that poem for us.

Muse: Killing poetry in the process. As soon as poetry is written down, it dies.
When science and logic won the battle for men’s souls, the godless Greeks shrank poetry to an intellectual game. Aristotle claimed to analyse poetry. Broke it down into different parts and drew up rules for its application. I was split into nine muses, one for each liberal art, and reduced to a handmaid of Apollo… me, the goddess Muse!

Apollo, a mouse demon, only conquered my shrine a Delphi once the sacred aether had left in its rocky cleft. My pythoness, a slave of unscrupulous priests, was made to sprout gibberish over piles of smouldering laurel, for them to interpret according to their schemes.

I am no handmaid of gods Pilgrim. I am their mother, bride and undertaker. Before a sterile satellite, I was the White Goddess governing the tides of life and death, of women and water. My new, full and old moon faces lit the night, or consigned men to darkness and dread. I was spinner, weaver and cutter of the thread. The morning star, heralding dawn; the evening star bringing the sun home; the midnight star the heavens revolved around: keeper of the pearl-rimmed cauldron frothing with poetic mead. My name meant illumination of thought and I was worshipped as mind, struggle and offering. Then I became memory, practice and recitation.

Odin, like Hermes, is the god of thieves. His ravens Thought and Memory swept the nine realms gleaning news. Learning I governed the nine worlds with charms written upon the World Tree Yggdrasil, Odin thought to steal my power, the power of the Norns. Knowledge made Grimnir arrogant. He hung on Yggdrasil for nine days without food or drink until his flesh felt rough as bark and when the runes travelled over his skin, he greedily gathered them in.

The Norns (The Nordic Fates):
Andruss adapted from Gehrts’ lithograph

Men entombed me in books, captive within grand libraries at Athens, Ephesus and Alexandria. Mistaking knowledge for wisdom those arrogant fools believed themselves gods. Where are those monuments to conceit now? Consigned to flame; their writings ash.

Only the Druids’ poets refused to write my secrets down. Though versed in Greek and Latin, they lived by my code:

Memory to recollect where you come from
Practice so you do not forget
Recitation to tell those to come after

They knew books destroyed poetry and encouraged the unworthy. Had not the sea god Manannan kept the Irish alphabet of trees in a crane skin bag, immune to magic, lest it corrupt men with literacy?

Yet the druids were slaughtered by Caesar; all their wisdom, all their gods, lost, the only survivors Apollo, Odin, Hermes and Thoth. The gods who imprisoned me ensured immortality by hiding inside the written word. Or was it man who made gods subjugate me? For what are gods but inventions of man?

Under gods, man thought me tamed. Then man forgot the gods. But poetry remained. A poet seeking to invoke no longer knows how, he thinks to flatter and seduce and if he succeeds, in blind fumbling excuse, believes I allow because he understands a woman’s needs. As if setting a rose in my hair like I were a Andalusian girl kissed breathless against a Moorish wall under a hot Alhambra moon with him urging my yes, putting hands on me and kissing my neck while I thinking as well him as another draw him down to the perfume of my breasts with his heart drumming like mad in the expectation of my yes. The bloom and the breast is not his to possess or caress until my liberal yes, for this is woman talking and I am sick of love. Yes I am no more his than a snatch of song heard on the jessamine breeze or a flower of the mountain born to die. So let me be yes set me free from the inky bars of this prison page to roll off the tongue careless as a lover’s air whistled on Palma Violet scented breath let loose in an empire of senses where guileless yes is yes, a paradise garden of delight, a sensual world pregnant with life.

(According to the Muse her soliloquy must be read aloud)

Illustration by Donata Zawadzka

Please check out Donata’s website: http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery
Buy her prints: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donataewa.zawadzka?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonataEZawadzka

©Paul Andruss 2018

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

You can find all of Paul’s previous posts and gardening column in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/paul-andruss-myths-legends-fantasy-and-gardening/

Thank you for dropping in today and as always please leave your questions and comments for Paul… thanks Sally.

 

 

Advertisements

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – Back by Popular Request – The Party’s Over – Cabaret : the Evolution of a Musical by Paul Andruss


Paul Andruss was unable to join in with his usual amazing posts over the End of Summer Party, but he has written an exclusive piece to end the party week with a flourish… Thanks Paul…you are a star…

Most of us are familiar with the musical Cabaret, but Paul goes into the background and the real life characters that morphed into Sally Bowles and the rest of the cast.

Cabaret: the Evolution of a Musical by Paul Andruss

In 1931 Christopher Isherwood moved to Berlin, aged 26. At the time Christopher said he moved to escape the stifling confines of upper middle class England. He did, but later admitted the main attraction was the laissez-faire attitude of Berlin’s working class young men inhabiting the sexual underworld.

These young men were happy be available to comparatively wealthy foreigners, not in a professional capacity, more as ‘young brothers’. They received accommodation, meals, drinks, clothes and gifts; borrowed money they never intended to pay back, to ultimately squander on the female prostitutes they became infatuated with. It is a mistake to see them as victims. Consider them as business men wheeling and dealing in what they had to hand, so to speak.

Paris had long been the city for lovers. Not to be out done by its rival, between the wars Berlin reinvented itself as the city of eroticism and decadence, as Amsterdam would do in the late 60s. The 1930s saw a world-wide depression. In 1932 a third of all working men in Germany’s Weimar Republic were unemployed.

Berlin fascinated the world. Many saw the city as a microcosm of the future in Europe and North America. Bloody street battles between the partisans of international communism and nationalist fascism were already playing out not only in Berlin and Paris but across Spain and Italy. In America and Britain there was a sense of impending revolution. Although critics vainly pointed out, there was little to choose between Communism and Fascism, the only thing that concerned most people was which side would win.

Isherwood wrote a best-selling novel and a short story collection about his time in Berlin. The most famous was Sally Bowles. Allied victory in the Second World War increased the public’s fascination with Isherwood’s account of the rise of Nazism. The other way round, his books would have been proscribed and burned.

In 1951 John Van Druten wrote a Broadway play based on the Berlin stories, focusing on Isherwood and Sally Bowles’ platonic friendship, explained in the play by presenting Isherwood as a driven writer and Sally’s fear of destroying their friendship with a sexual dalliance. Van Druten took his title from Goodbye to Berlin’s opening line: ‘I am a camera’.

In the play Sally and Christopher are English, as they were in life. Christopher is drawn to the bright brittle Sally, who has a habit of choosing the wrong men. Sally is pretty but talentless; singing in a rundown cabaret club while waiting to become a movie star.

The crisis comes when a wealthy American playboy gets Christopher and Sally to show him around Berlin. By the time he leaves Sally is pregnant. Gentlemanly Christopher, now in love, offers to marry Sally.

Sally cannot renounce her chaotic bohemian existence for respectability. She has an abortion and blithely talks about going to Paris with another man she has just met to become a movie star. Christopher returns to England alone.

The musical Cabaret followed in 1966. Originally it was conceived as a straight play prefaced by a number of songs sung in the seedy Kit Kat Cabaret club where Sally worked. The play quickly transformed into standard musical format, featuring the cast singing about their emotions, while keeping the cabaret-stage songs to comment on the social changes during the Nazis rise to power.

One such song If You Could See Her Through My Eyes is sung by the MC about his love for a female gorilla. It ends with the line: ‘If you could see her through my eyes she wouldn’t look Jewish at all’. Meant as a condemnation of the German people’s attitude change that dehumanised fellow Jewish citizens, it worked too well on the stage. It so outraged American Jewish groups the last line was changed to a Yiddish word meaning different. The original lyrics were reinserted in the 1972 film of the musical.

The musical’s plot was simple. A love story between American Cliff Bradshaw (Bradshaw was Isherwood’s mother’s maiden name) an innocent abroad in Berlin looking for inspiration for his great novel, and the unchanged Sally Bowles.

Out went the play’s secondary characters and in came the doomed courtship of the boarding house landlady by a Jewish grocer. She abandons him initially because of fear and finally because her attitude hardens against the Jews.

The main action takes place in the Kit Kat Cabaret club. The ending remains the same. Pregnant Sally has an abortion and returns to her old job as a cabaret singer where she sings the title song: a paean to recklessly seizing the day.

When Bob Fosse made a film in 1972, Sally (Liza Minelli) became American and Cliff, renamed Brian, was a stuffy closeted homosexual Englishman. Fosse returned to the original idea of a play with music, keeping almost all the songs to stage numbers in the club. The exceptions were Tomorrow Belongs to Me and Married (Hieraten).

Tomorrow Belongs to Me originally sung by the club’s pro-nazi waiters, was given to a young boy in the Hitler Youth. Originally sung by the landlady Hieraten appears as a German gramophone record Sally plays.

Around 20 show numbers were cut and two new numbers added: Sally’s Maybe this Time and The Money Song (replacing a similar themed-song Sitting Pretty). Fosse reintroduced elements from the play in favour of the musical such as the love story between gigilo Fritz and the wealth Jewish heiress Natalia Landauer. He also reintroduced the playboy who knocks up Sally in the form of a wealthy German aristocrat.

By 1972 women’s liberation and sexual liberation were powerful voices. Fosse used both elements to make the film relevant. Brian was explicitly gay, although he falls for, and has sex with, Sally. The aristocratic playboy was a bisexual who in the words of the script…

Brian: ‘Screw Max.’

Sally: ‘I do.’

Brian: ‘So do I.’

Sally was less of a victim and genuinely talented as befitted Liza with a Z. Although Brian offers to marry her and make her respectable, she fears their love will become eroded by his homosexual slips and her penchant for booze and the odd casual screw. She has the abortion and returns to the Cabaret as a single independent woman. When she sings Cabaret it is a fierce declaration of independence and a rejection of the bourgeois values.

Both points resonated with the audience.

The film ends in the same way as the musical with the MC, reprising the opening song that welcomed the audience and invited them to forget their troubles. Now the MC hopes their troubles are forgotten and wishes them Auf Wiedersehen, A bientot, but not Goodbye. In the distorted mirror over hanging the stage is reflected an audience wearing the brown shirts of Hitler’s SA, later replaced by the SS.

The film’s portrayal of controversial issues earned it an Adults Only certificate: the first time one was given to a musical. I saw it when I was 15 with my 11 year old brother. Heaven knows how we got into the cinema. I don’t think they really cared. My brother hated it, whereas I, at threshold of adulthood, was enthralled. I have always cherished two of film’s ideas incorporating them into my personal mantra for life.

From The Money Song:

Money makes the world go round, of that we both are sure. Pfffit on being POOR!

From the song Two Ladies:

Twoseees beats onesees, but nothing beats threes

When the stage musical of Cabaret was revived in 1993 London, times had changed. The director Sam Mendes could not in all justice ignore the iconic film. He not only included the two songs written for the film but also kept the frank adult themes while keeping to the original musical book and score. American Cliff kisses one of the boys in the Kit Kat Club.

At the end of the musical when the MC is singing Auf Wiedersehen, A bientot, he takes off his coat to show his concentration camp uniform: striped pyjamas sewn with the yellow star of the Jew and the pink triangle of the homosexual. Reminding us how the Nazis dealt with those they considered sub-human and degenerate.

For his star, Mendes chose 29 year old Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles. Little Voice, a play and later a film, was written to show off Horrocks incredible vocal range, control and talent for mimicry. It was about a reclusive young woman pushed into the limelight through her talent to mimic distinctive singers such as Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland and Gracie Fields.

So I leave you with Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles.

Sally has had the abortion. She wants to continue with her career. She and Cliff argue. He says she has no talent and the only way she ever gets a job is by sleeping with the club owner.

Watching Horrocks sing Cabaret is probably one of the most chilling things you will ever see: a complete mental breakdown in 4 minutes flat. It is the perfect metaphor for a country living on its nerves, that is about to consign itself, and the world, to flames.

Everyone who wants to write should read Isherwood. His prose is stark, elegant, clear, erudite, multi-layered and devastatingly witty. No wonder he was considered one of the most gifted novelists of his generation.

I have finished re-reading Christopher and his Kind after a 30 year gap. He is a joy to read. If you want to learn more about Isherwood’s time in Berlin in the 1930s try watching the no-holds-barred BBC production of the book. Matt Smith looks uncannily like a young Isherwood. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/F-MD4z7_RI4

The portrayal of Sally Bowles in the novella and subsequently in the play, musical and film infuriated Sally’s real-life inspiration Jean Ross. Intelligent and serious, Jean was a lifelong communist. She died of cervical cancer in 1973 after meeting up, and making up, with Christopher Isherwood three years earlier.

Jean Ross: the original Sally Bowles (Wikipedia)

©Paul Andruss 2018

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen.

Finn Mac Cool

Finn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, explicitly sexual and disturbingly violent, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

You can find all of Paul’s posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share the post on your own blog and networks. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – According to the Muse (A monologue in 2 parts) Part Two – Born to Die by Paul Andruss


Time for one of the posts by our Writer in Residence Paul Andruss who gave us plenty to think about in terms of poetry in part one of According to the Muse:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/smorgasbord-writer-in-residence-according-to-the-muse-a-dialogue-in-2-halves-part-1-what-is-poetry-paul-andruss/

I am enjoying being educated about this ancient form of storytelling. I will admit to finding some modern poets difficult to engage with. I tend to read poetry out loud, but it seems that some poets have not done so themselves. Tonality, timbre and breath bring poetry alive, as with the travelling bards of long ago, reciting the epic poems of heroism and adventure. They were plays with a cast of many uttered by one.

Anyway.. on with part two and if your reaction to the last post is anything to go by there will be plenty of discussion. Paul digs deep into the very origins of poetry………

According to the Muse (A monologue in 2 parts) Part Two – Born to Die by Paul Andruss

Illustration by Donata Zawadzka

So saith the Muse: Now you see poetry lies in what is written, not how it is written, or even how it looks written, you understand poetry is no mere academic exercise but an irrepressible urge. A writer without passion is naught but a scribbler Pilgrim. Artists have no choice but to strive, for poetry is the soul. And shall I tell you what lies in a poet’s soul?

Pilgrim: No! No you’re ok… That was lovely thanks, but I’ve gotta get…

Muse: It’s a rhetorical question. This is a never-to-be-repeated offer: a lesson from the Muse. You’ll get such a sip from the cauldron of inspiration it will blow your socks off and you’ll never look at a poem in the same way again. And that, my boy, is the first step to becoming a poet.

Pilgrim: Alright then, hit me.

Muse: And don’t think I won’t!

You may believe poetry is all unicorns and rainbows. Wrong. Poetry is fear. Man did not invent poetry Pilgrim. Poetry was birthed in forgotten aeons before man was dragged up from the apes to stand beside the angels. Poetry always existed, unknown and unshaped. Man merely gave it voice, words and reason.

Stripped of language, culture and intellect, poetry is the primal scream of naked panic at descending darkness. Poetry comes from the blind abject terror of believing unless you beseech the gods correctly the sun will not rise tomorrow; the rains will not fall; spring will not come; plants will not grow and the herds will not return.

Predators in Africa make more kills during the new moon. On moonless nights, lion attacks on humans increase threefold. It is not lunacy driving the wolf to howl at the full moon, it is a poetic lament for an empty belly. Does it surprise, man also sings to the goddess Moon and her daughter the hearth fire to keep him safe?

Unlike animals, man knows he is mortal. It drives the two warring forces in his soul. Eros, or lust, is the will to survive no matter what, to seek communion, to create life and art. Thanatos is chaos, death, war, melancholia, and fear.

Man is not simply afraid of death. He dreads when and how it comes. He frets if and how he will be remembered. He believes his only choice is dying ignominious and forgotten, or departing in a blaze of glory.

She died in the upstairs bedroom
By the light of the ev’ning star
That shone through the plate glass window
From over Leamington Spa

Beside her the lonely crochet
Lay patiently and unstirred,
But the fingers that would have work’d it
Were dead as the spoken word.

 Death in Lemington – John Betjeman: https://allpoetry.com/Death-In-Leamington

It is not bad. Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies.
It is not bad, it is high time,
Stark violence is still the sire of all the world’s values.

The Bloody Sire – Robinson Jeffers : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/22770/the-bloody-sire

Pilgrim: Not though I don’t believe you Muse, but what about humour?

Muse: Scared chimpanzees make the same facial expression as a smile and the same sound as a laugh. Why do strangers passing on a narrow track often say hello or excuse themselves with a smile? What is humour if not something to laugh off fear and threat?
Poetry is never humorous Pilgrim, though rhyme often is. Rhyme is a delight. A game of ambiguity and wit played with devices of semantics and grammar to the point of absurdity.

The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag
The reason you will see no doubt
Is to keep the lightning out
But what these unobservant birds
Have failed to notice is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.

Christopher Isherwood – Poems Past and Present : https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/christopher_isherwood

According to the Norse Skalds, rhyme is not poetry. Skalds, drunk on poetic mead, considered rhymesters only sipped the drops spilt by Odin as he fled with his stolen prize.

Pilgrim: And what about love? Surely, the greatest poems are love poems.

Muse: Does not the fear of loss, betrayal and rejection haunt love? Ask any mother if she worries over a child. Ask any lover. While some stories end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’, those that don’t, deal with loss.

Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

Remembrance – Emily Bronte:  https://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/wh/emily-bronte-poetry.php

Come, walk with me,
There’s only thee
To bless my spirit now –
We used to love on winter nights
To wander through the snow;
Can we not woo back old delights?
The clouds rush dark and wild
They fleck with shade our mountain heights
The same as long ago

Come walk with me – Emily Bronte: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/come-walk-with-me/

All religions offer prayer in song: Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Shinto. Even the angels in heaven sing their praises. Poetry is the source from which all art flows: dance, music, song.

Incantation, meaning to sing and chant, comes from Proto-Indo-European, the ancient mother tongue that gave rise to of Sanskrit, Persian, Slavic, Celtic and the other European languages. The Proto-Indo-European word means to speak with the voice of a god. When the gods speak through prophets and poets, the listeners become intoxicated. It is for this reason the Irish God of eloquence, Ogma Sun Face is shown leading men bound with golden chains running from the mouth of one to the ear of the next.

The earliest medieval French poems called lais, meaning ‘songs’ in German and Irish, gave way to chivalric Chansons de Geste or heroic songs. Renaissance poems like Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (Roland’s Madness) and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Liberated) are divided into cantos (songs). Poems and songs still have verses and refrains.

Because gods speak through poets, poetry is not meant to be easy. Poets are held in high regard because they suffer and sacrifice for art. Odin gave an eye at the well of Mimir for a sip of poetic inspiration. Druidic poets took 25 years to learn poetic lore, including scores of epic poems.

Skilled in extempore composition, they drew on myth to make history mythic. Trained in verse form, rhyme, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, symbolism, metaphor, simile and metonymy, irony and other stylistic devices, they intoxicated audiences leaving them drunk on loquaciousness.

Homeric poets could recite 25,000 lines of epic poetry. Lines burn into minds in the fearful knowledge, one misplaced rhyme would cause everything to be irrevocably lost. A practice continued in Greece and Rome as part of a child’s education; learning by heart Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Poetry is meant to be spoken and heard, not read.

Pilgrim: Not read? The world’s oldest written text is a poem. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, written four thousand years ago, Gilgamesh seeks immortality only to learn the gods have made death man’s fate. Writing preserved that poem for us.

Muse: Killing poetry in the process. As soon as poetry is written down, it dies.
When science and logic won the battle for men’s souls, the godless Greeks shrank poetry to an intellectual game. Aristotle claimed to analyse poetry. Broke it down into different parts and drew up rules for its application. I was split into nine muses, one for each liberal art, and reduced to a handmaid of Apollo… me, the goddess Muse!

Apollo, a mouse demon, only conquered my shrine a Delphi once the sacred aether had left in its rocky cleft. My pythoness, a slave of unscrupulous priests, was made to sprout gibberish over piles of smouldering laurel, for them to interpret according to their schemes.

I am no handmaid of gods Pilgrim. I am their mother, bride and undertaker. Before a sterile satellite, I was the White Goddess governing the tides of life and death, of women and water. My new, full and old moon faces lit the night, or consigned men to darkness and dread. I was spinner, weaver and cutter of the thread. The morning star, heralding dawn; the evening star bringing the sun home; the midnight star the heavens revolved around: keeper of the pearl-rimmed cauldron frothing with poetic mead. My name meant illumination of thought and I was worshipped as mind, struggle and offering. Then I became memory, practice and recitation.

Odin, like Hermes, is the god of thieves. His ravens Thought and Memory swept the nine realms gleaning news. Learning I governed the nine worlds with charms written upon the World Tree Yggdrasil, Odin thought to steal my power, the power of the Norns. Knowledge made Grimnir arrogant. He hung on Yggdrasil for nine days without food or drink until his flesh felt rough as bark and when the runes travelled over his skin, he greedily gathered them in.

The Norns (The Nordic Fates):
Andruss adapted from Gehrts’ lithograph

Men entombed me in books, captive within grand libraries at Athens, Ephesus and Alexandria. Mistaking knowledge for wisdom those arrogant fools believed themselves gods. Where are those monuments to conceit now? Consigned to flame; their writings ash.

Only the Druids’ poets refused to write my secrets down. Though versed in Greek and Latin, they lived by my code:

Memory to recollect where you come from
Practice so you do not forget
Recitation to tell those to come after

They knew books destroyed poetry and encouraged the unworthy. Had not the sea god Manannan kept the Irish alphabet of trees in a crane skin bag, immune to magic, lest it corrupt men with literacy?

Yet the druids were slaughtered by Caesar; all their wisdom, all their gods, lost, the only survivors Apollo, Odin, Hermes and Thoth. The gods who imprisoned me ensured immortality by hiding inside the written word. Or was it man who made gods subjugate me? For what are gods but inventions of man?

Under gods, man thought me tamed. Then man forgot the gods. But poetry remained. A poet seeking to invoke no longer knows how, he thinks to flatter and seduce and if he succeeds, in blind fumbling excuse, believes I allow because he understands a woman’s needs. As if setting a rose in my hair like I were a Andalusian girl kissed breathless against a Moorish wall under a hot Alhambra moon with him urging my yes, putting hands on me and kissing my neck while I thinking as well him as another draw him down to the perfume of my breasts with his heart drumming like mad in the expectation of my yes. The bloom and the breast is not his to possess or caress until my liberal yes, for this is woman talking and I am sick of love. Yes I am no more his than a snatch of song heard on the jessamine breeze or a flower of the mountain born to die. So let me be yes set me free from the inky bars of this prison page to roll off the tongue careless as a lover’s air whistled on Palma Violet scented breath let loose in an empire of senses where guileless yes is yes, a paradise garden of delight, a sensual world pregnant with life.

(According to the Muse her soliloquy must be read aloud)

Illustration by Donata Zawadzka

Please check out Donata’s website: http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery
Buy her prints: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donataewa.zawadzka?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonataEZawadzka

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Finn Mac CoolFinn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.

The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.

Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.

Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic

Find out more and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

There are two directories for Paul in the menu – Writer in Residence posts: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

and his new Gardening Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gardening-column-by-paul-andruss/

As always my gratitude to Paul for his incredible research and ability to explain the complexities of a subject in such an entertaining and informative way..