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01 August 2007

[No] August Poem of the Month













Today is supposed to be Poem of the Month Day, but I'm too immersed in reading Freud, Derrida, de Mann, et al to even think about writing anything creative. It's terrible how theory freezes poetry, at least temporarily. So instead of having me just posting an old poem of my own, why don't you lovely readers post something of yours, or a link to a favorite classic poem? Wouldn't that be nice?













I'd love to talk a bit about literary theory here, and especially my new-found but age-old fascination with Deconstruction, but the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism awaits, as does Freud's Future of an Illusion....

2 comments:

Rosie Perera said...

I own the Norton Anthology of Theory & Criticism, too. I've read only one essay in it, T.S. Eliot's famous "Tradition and the Individual Talent." Good stuff, but I can see how daunting reading much more of that book in a short span of time would be.

I have just recently unpacked my poetry books finally and have all of them in one house for the first time in over 10 years! I have a whole six-shelf bookcase of them (with some room for expansion). Ah, delicious!

Here's one of my favorite poems of John Donne's that I reread and sang over and over recently, as I selected it to be one of the hymns we sang at church a couple of weeks ago:

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt Thou forgive that sin, where I begun,
Which was my sin though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I’ve spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore:
And, having done that, Thou hast done:
I fear no more.

Source: The Oxford Book of English Verse

I love the pun on done/Donne: "When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done, / For I have more." Read it as "when you have finished forgiving, you haven't really finished (and you haven't got John Donne in your grasp), for I still have more sins." And then the lovely resolution at the end: "at my death Thy Son / Shall shine, as He shines now and heretofore: / And, having done that, Thou hast done: / I fear no more."

Set to music by J.S. Bach, which you can listen to at The Cyber Hymnal.

Iambic Admonit said...

I don't have the brain power to read and critique another poem right now, but I do remember (from studying this poem at UMass) that there's also a pun on his wife's maiden name, Moore. Possibly a sad/nasty pun, maybe not. Perhaps he feared his love for his wife was so great it might possibly keep him from God?

I didn't know Bach had set it! Lovely!!