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by seanfarragher 

Posted: 08 March 2005
Word Count: 249
Summary: My Self & Soul in 2005. Written after reading Yeats's "Self and Soul."
Related Works: From the Book of Byzantium -- Parts 1 and 2 • Hurrah, Hooray, Huzzah • No Milk and Cookies • TxM6 -- Taxi Murders -- Ghost Bridge Over Great Rivers • 

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©Sean Farragher

Olympus began at the sour notes of childhood
where the flat daffodils and poison ivy
rust orange in the double leaves of terror.
How we fall waiting for darker Eros to settle in sprays
of bachelor-buttons spread on my motherís grave.

Greece rained as dark summers in a fields of blood
when Axis and Nazi rained in the text of Sumerians
written in cuneiform on mud and straw now by America.

All poems begin in the flight of that war
of self and soul that Yeats made the
bounty of his last years in Sligo churchyard.

We are that war today, again, like ribald repeats
that are not funny and waste intention.

Why is the passage of oil or the destruction
of skyscrapers more important than childhood?

How can we say there is nothing to do
Lately, I lament zero as I bleach in depression
or rest in the motion of daylight with blue
clouds that are shifting gray at the edges.

Will I remember the end of the tempest as
mountain steps, 9570 feet of them,
stumbling in a dream in Greece, where
Parnassus, a lovely place for lovely gods

Climb faster, rest no more, hear
every word for it may not last
or they will rust in the creek strained
as volcanoes long dead revive.
Yes, no answers in mud and straw;
none in the click of keys as we speed
tuning forks that raise harmony too high.
Let dissonance live as we climb.

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Comments by other Members

lieslj at 17:03 on 08 March 2005  Report this post
Vibrant and remarkable subject matter, Sean. Haven't seen you work like this before. I like it very much.

As always beautiful line endings.

I'm blown away, fellow.

Nice to see you here.


joanie at 12:14 on 09 March 2005  Report this post
Hi Sean. I add my welcome to Nell's. This is very rich in its imagery and ideas. I, too, need to keep returning to re-read.
I liked the questions right in the middle.
I feel like I need to investigate further to understand it better.

Thanks for the link Nell - that was useful.


Elsie at 18:53 on 09 March 2005  Report this post
Hello Sean, welcome to the group. I will have to re-read (and research!) to comment properly, as I have to admit at the moment I don't understand it. But that's perhaps my lack of classical education. Welcome though!

Nell at 12:37 on 10 March 2005  Report this post
Sean, thanks for the link, I'd be interested to look at some more of your work. I did understand about 'rained' and wasn't suggesting that you alter it, just commenting that the repetition made me stop reading and think awhile.


Mac AM at 18:35 on 10 March 2005  Report this post
Hello Sean,

Welcome to the group.

This is a well researched and weighty piece of work. Its strength is in the wealth of detail you provide, colouring the images for us as we read. I feel as though Iím learning something without being taught, which is a lovely experience in poetry. Like Joanie, I had to Google a bit, but this was alright. It isnít exclusive, its challenging and well worth the effort.

I think if this poem has a weakness, it is in the middle section beginning with the couplet and the following tercet:

We are that war today, again, like ribald repeats
that are not funny and waste intention.

Does war answer the Generals and politicos?
Why is the passage of oil or the destruction
of skyscrapers more important than childhood?

Donít get me wrong, I love the idea of stepping out of the poem, but I am concerned that the questions you have chosen are not strong enough to carry this technique. I guess what Iím trying to say here, is that the poem to this point is wonderful, but then suddenly in just five lines, it becomes less. It becomes an average protest poem. Now before you throw your hands up at the harshness of this, what Iím trying to say is that your poem is so much more than average, but it is let down a little just at this point. You could come up with some amazing questions that challenge the reader and make him/her think in a different way and the result would be tremendous.

As it stands this is a great and interesting poem and I lave loved reading and re-reading it. Thanks you for sharing.

I very much look forward to reading more.


Mac AM at 19:07 on 10 March 2005  Report this post
Thank you for taking my comments as purely for the sake of making poetry better (subjective though this may be) rather than as a personal attack.

OK. I agree that the childhood/oil is an important question in itself, but is there a better way of asking it so it doesn't get lost in the communal voices that all shout the same thing? Your key Sean is in the one whisper that gets heard above the shouting and poetry is such a fantastic medium for that. Thatís what I wanted to see - you asking the important question in the way that challenges and makes people think.

We all have the same experience, we all have different experiences, it is the lens through which they are seen that separates us one from the other.


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