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







she makes me feel bitter


And someone suddenly goes, goes gravewards
Causing tears and smiles to turn downwards,
People unite and the past is then praised
Their memories of old ease the malaise.
And then she went to Heaven awaywards
But looking back at the tears afterwards,
At the Psalm I read and the sad smile raised
For the family, now it all seems so staged,
Though only her will revealed her real self:
An unkind woman hiding behind ill health.

Eighteen months ago my old grandma died,
I’m glad she expired undignified.
I should love her? It’s now too hard to try,
I can’t even like her and hate how I cried.


Eleanor Joslin.

Just a Smile


She doesn’t see herself
Standing still
With the wet wind blowing
Burnt orange leaves
Around her heels.

She watches a barber-cut head in the crowd, chocolate smooth.
And then those blue eyes flash back
And find her with a tentative smile with dimples but no white teeth.
And then she sees smooth and brown again
Watching his head in the crowd bob away.

And this was enough
So she walks away too.


Eleanor Joslin.

For Norman


I had to fetch some logs for Mummy
on my way to the woodhouse I saw a bat
I’d only seen a real bat before on telly
This one was sitting by the stinky drain
I picked him up and held him in both hands
his wing hung down like an old nana skin
he hissed to me then I hissed hi back to him
then he hissed to me his name was Norman

me and Norman went to show him to Mum
I said Mum this is Norman but she screamed
she jumped onto a chair and I think she swore
thats naughty though so maybe I made that up
she did jump up onto her chair though
then she shouted at Norman and then at me
I said she didnt much like Norman
but she said she didnt much like Vernon

me and Norman went back to his drain
he hissed to me he didnt like Mum either
you mustnt say that so I told him off
I tapped his wing but Id forgot it was broke
he hissed to me it was definitely broke
I put him down and Tarka sniffed him
I put her water bowl over him to be safe

inside I said Daddy would you be a vet
Mum said no cos vets dont help Vernon
I said hes called Norman and hes my friend
then Mum said Dad would fix the flying rat
I said to Dad where Normans home was
Mum said it was way passed my bedtime

out the window I waved nunight to Norman
Daddy said he would play vet round the back
when he came back hed straighted Normans wing
I knew cos he didnt carry Norman now
he was carrying a rolling pin

Handsel Mondays

Handsel Monday:

The first Monday in the New Year.

This is an old Scottish festival, before the nineteenth century the main midwinter celebration — Christmas was considered by Calvinists to be heathen and Hogmanay hadn’t come into fashion. In The Eskdale Herd-boy (“a Scottish tale for the instruction and amusement of young persons”) by Martha Blackford, published in 1819, appears: “‘Sir,’ said John, as he walked along, ‘do you think Mr Laurie will give me a holiday on Handsel Monday?’ (the first Monday in the year, and the only holiday the Scottish peasantry ever allow themselves, except, perhaps, in the case of a wedding).”

It was in particular a day for giving presents and that’s where the name comes from. Handsel (or hansel, or even handsell) is a Middle English word for luck or a good omen that comes from Old Norse. It became the name for a gift given on any special occasion, such as taking on a new job or beginning some enterprise, or for earnest money — a down payment or a first instalment.
One particular situation in which the term was used, which many subscribers have mentioned, was that of putting a coin of small value as a good-luck charm in a handbag or purse given as a present. The superstition or tradition is widespread, but only in Scotland was it commonly called a handsel.

From http://www.worldwidewords.org

I have to clear up a few things now. Number one is that I havn't christened my new shiney blog Handsel Mondays after the Scottish meaning. I certainly don't want to offend any Scots, it's just that I'm very interested in Old Norse and Old English, archiac language in general really, so the meaning I prefer from worldwidewords is the explanation in the second paragraph.
I may just point out here (I should say will and not may really) that Andrew Murray has made a negative impression upon me regarding Scots. He openly didn't support England during the 2006 FIFA World Cup and this greatly annoyed me at the time and has stayed with me. However, I do know that he is just one Scot and does not (hopefully) represent all Scots, so this angst is directed more towards Murray than Scotland, although the two are inextricably linked. I have also always wanted to visit the beautiful Scottish scenery so disregarding the Scottish derivation of Handsel Mondays is certainly not aimed against Scots. Phew, glad I got that out the way!

The Middle English meaning is quite appropriate for this ol' blog venture. I certainly hope it will bring me good luck and prove to be a very good omen for my creative outlet. In addition, as Christmas is only a few weeks away the present-giving aspect on a Handsel Monday seems to be very appropriate for this festive time of year! Happy Handsels!!