Poets? Yeah, They Know It: Thursday’s Children

Welcome to the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, where writers come together to share whatever inspires them throughout their writing journey. I’d like to thank our lovely hosts, Rhiann and Kristina, for hosting this and inviting me to participate. Thank you! Make sure to check out the other bloggers via the Link List at the bottom of this post. We’d love for you to join us!

I love poetry; its elegance and rhythm, the emotional dynamics, and most especially, its imagery. I have to confess though, I have difficulty understanding the deeper meaning unless someone explains it to me. Obviously I have a defect in my brain, but whether I understand a poem in its entirety or not, still, I find them beautiful. Some of my favorite poets are Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, John Keats, and of course, Mother Goose, ’cause she rocks the nursery.

I don’t write poetry, at least not seriously—I’m terrible at it—but I find it’s a good writing exercise, in that it makes me see words as more than just letters strewn together. To me, poets, and some authors, possess a visceral understanding of the power of words; what they mean, how they make one feel, the images they create. As a writer, I strive to improve my own understanding and make each word in my story mean something. Sometimes I fail, with colossal flair, but other times I manage to compose something truly wonderful. I think this holds true for everyone.

Now, I’ll tell you a story and you can believe it or not, but I promise you, it’s true. My mother will bear witness if necessary. I have a number of WIPs in various stages of completion and ‘The Gentian Soul’ is one of my favorite. It’s an epic fantasy—which will likely take me forever to write—set in an alternate history during the time when gods walked upon the earth. The protagonist, Neysa, is Harpeian—the offspring of Hades and a human slave—and charged with the duty of carrying the souls of the damned to the Underworld. The Kore, her queen and part-time consort of Hades, wants Neysa’s newest charge for herself. But Neysa, defiant and headstrong, disobeys, and sets out with her charge in tow to find the Fates to free him.

Enter ‘Lasher’ by Anne Rice. Sometimes when I’m writing I get completely stuck, or in the case of ‘The Gentian Soul’, the plot expands to a degree that I’m overwhelmed and need a time-out to process these new developments. When this happens, I have to read outside the genre I’m writing to distance myself from the story. Now, I’ve read ‘The Witching Hour’ series ten times at least, but when I got to page 87, 3rd paragraph, I had to re-read the last sentence twice. “She wondered if he could remember now their favorite poets—how they loved D.H. Lawrence’s poem about blue gentians…”

Whaaa? I’d never seen that before (I swear it wasn’t there the last time I read that book) and so I looked up the poem. And when I read it, I got all tingly. I didn’t need anyone to tell me the meaning of this poem because I was already writing it. Life and death, light and dark, the promise of rebirth. D.H. Lawrence wrote ‘Bavarian Gentians’ while dying of tuberculosis, but truly, his soul lives on in the words that inspired me, even if that inspiration came without my knowledge.

 

Bavarian Gentians, by D. H. Lawrence

Not every man has gentians in his house
in soft September, at slow, sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime, torch-like, with the smoking

blueness of Pluto’s gloom,
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto’s dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter’s pale

lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on
the lost bride and her groom.

 

There are two versions of this poem, but I like this one best.

So which poet or poem inspires your writing…

 

 

Here’s the link for this week’s blog hop

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=183484&type=basic

 

12 Responses to “Poets? Yeah, They Know It: Thursday’s Children

  • Wow – that’s an *amazing* case of synchronicity! I love it! And thank you for sharing the poem. I hate to admit it, but I’d never read it before.

    • It happens a lot, and it’s freaky cool, but also kind of eerie 🙂 I loved your post about collages–they were beautiful!–and I can’t believe I can’t leave a comment! I’ll have to puzzle that out this weekend with Hubby’s help 🙂

  • That IS a beautiful and inspiring poem. But then, I’ve loved DH since college days. I get the same feeling when I read Jeanette Winterson’s prose – it’s so full of passion and powerfull, sensual imagery.

    • I’ve never heard of her, but now she’s on my TBR list! Thanks 🙂

  • Interesting how one thing led to another in order to get this poem in front of you. Sounds like it was exactly what you needed to inspire you to get back to your WIP.

    Have you tried reading classical Greek or Roman poems about the Underworld? (ie. from the Odyssey or Aeneid). Or Inferno. You may find some inspiration there too!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, I love the classics! I may have to pull them out again 🙂

  • It’s the weirdest and perhaps most rewarding parts of writing where you find something that so completely fits your own vision.

    I love sound of your WIP – and the word gentian in general is just sounds great.

    The poem is beautiful too. Great post.

  • I like the sound of your WIP! Definitely something I would read… And that poem is beautiful indeed…

    • Thank you! And the poem hit the right notes for me at just the right time.

  • Lovely! I’ve never read any of D.H. Lawrence’s poetry before––I’ll have to hop to it. My favorite poets when I was younger were Christina Rosetti and Amy Lowell, and I think their work has influenced my writing the most. Also the poem “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich.

    • More poets! I’ll look them up–Amy Lowell sounds familiar. Thank you!