Saturday, 29 November 2008

A Gust of Wind by Jean-Francois Millet

I seem to either get a really positive a reaction about this poem or the absolute opposite. Perhaps the writing style and tone needs to be explained and then the poem won't seem so forced or archaic, or as if I'm being a try-hard, just trying to copy a poet from the canon... although this is slightly true! However, this is only because of the task which the poem derived from.
Visiting the National Museum in Cardiff (it's free and I really recommend a visit. The collection of art is limited but they do have some of the best artsists - Millet, Rubens, Van Dyck, Cezanne - as as well as lesser known Welsh artists) I was stopped in my tracks by a huge, dark and intimidating landscape by Millet. I then wrote down everything that I could see and feel about this painting, A Gust of Wind, and later attepmted to make a story from the emotions which the painting had provoked me to feel. There is a real sense of the past in this painting and of wrath, so I combined both by writing in an older style of poetry and in particular the style of Blake. His books of mythology go into detail about wrath so I felt that adopting his rhyme scheme and stanza length for example, was wholly appropriate. Influenced by his collection of poems, Of Innocence and Experience, which I had written about for an essay the previous semester, I then went on to contrast the intimidating darkness and the wrath felt in the wind in the painting with what this wind could be perceived to be blowing and beating down upon: a small and bent man cowering in the wind but resolutely perservering and staying upright.
Many words used in this poem provide the semantics that relate to Blake, mythology and to his poems Of Innocence and Experience. I hope this explanation makes the poem better and more understandable. Although, because I like it a lot and I love Blake I don't really mind if there is still negative feedback. This one can be for me.
A Gust Of Wind by Jean-Fran├žois Millet

Part 1

Wrath:

Now feel the angry winds of woe reek,
Wreak havoc high and No! meek
Man do not dare stand high, bend low,
Bend down, dark thunder crash shall thrash you.

Now past, you break her bark and sap her strength,
Trying to uproot Urizen with bodies trembling tense.
Unlike the South supreme never can you Act,
Ours are eternal senses, whack and crack, fell you flat!

And My knowledge grows not from millet seeds of poison,
A seven disease some of you have basely chosen,

Unlike the beasts that saw sight to bellow thunder
“Come and see” pulling the Lamb back from umbra.

Yet I still roar and claw at sins’ lust, like the first,
For more and improved and renewed, that thrusts
Forth my vengeance that vents from volatile caprice
Not your avarice - Lo! - to show lust must cease.

Now feel My angry winds of woe reek,
Wreak havoc higher, and No! meek
Men do not dare stand high but bend lower,
Bend down and My dark thunder crash will thrash you.



Part 2

Man:

Wrath attack and pummeling wind fists fight us
Your tumbrel tumultuous but No! not righteous,
You dare hide in hypocrisy as black clouds cover me
Cowering bent, not bowed, against the pounding row.

Rage is not the answer; you wage war against yourself,
Can’t you see man needs the immaterial from Material’s wealth?
Adopt stealth, brake brawl, rationale for another fall
Is futile while You need man but still excise self to gaol.

Long ago we danced to answer your base promises,
But now the vagabond’s alehouse alters past vistas
As Los siblings break blood with toxins in tonnes.
Reality’s tun teases to please; Hope’s failures fault is no ones.

Your pointless appeal makes vain the valley beyond death
As life’s light horizon glimmers ghostly shades of Lambeth.
Instead let the urban unite and influence not paralyse
So we can walk tall now, not wait until man dies.

So wrath can attack and pummeling wind fists can fight us
With tumbrel tumultuous but No! never righteous,
Who scares to hide in hypocrisy as black clouds cover me
Cowering briefly bent, never bowed, in a pounding row.



Eleanor Joslin







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