Epiphany

Jan. 6th, 2014 01:59 pm
marnanel: (Default)
I walked in darkness. Many a lonely mile,
my eyes and footsteps stumbling and blind,
I sought a kindly light I could not find
in land or ocean, asking all the while
if lightless lives are taken in exchange
for light eternal; memories of sight
would whisper, even I shall see the light!

I never thought the light would look so strange.
Not in a temple, echoing and awed,
nor in a palace, glistening and grand,
nor in my home, nor any friendly land,
but distant, dirty, in a shed abroad,
I met a maiden bloody from a birth
and in her arms, the light of all the earth.
marnanel: (Default)
Kathryn Rose was asking whether I'd written any metrical psalms. I phoned my parents and asked them to look through an old file, and they found a sonnet based on Psalm 6 that I wrote back when I was 21. I think I've improved since then, though.

O Lord, withhold your wrath against my wrong!
Be merciful to me - I faint and fail.
My vision draws to darkness, and I wail:
How long until you rescue me? How long?
Still groaning, since my strength is spent with groans,
By night I weep until I drench my bed,
My sight grows dim from sorrowing and dread,
My pains absorb my spirit, sleep and bones.
My Father, turn and save us as you said!
Display your love declared to us of old:
No hearts or mouths can praise you once grown cold,
Nor any man remember you when dead.
Away! The Lord has heard me call his name!
And all my foes shall surely fall in shame.

Take a pew

Mar. 24th, 2011 04:31 pm
marnanel: (Default)
My brother's hairy. I'm a smoother man.
I entered by the exit, without knowing,
They told me off, you know, but I began
considering: do YOU know where you're going?
I climbed a hill when I was in my teens,
And my companion vomited on me.
Still, life is rather more like tinned sardines,
And all of us are looking for the key.
Some find the key, they pull the cover wide,
and eat sardines, so fishy and so fine.
There's still the bit you cannot reach, inside.
Is there in yours? I know there is in mine.
Remember this when life is hard and scary:
that I'm a smooth, my brother is an hairy.

(ref)
marnanel: (Default)
I wrote this sonnet for All Souls' Day, which is today, but I wrote it on 21st July 1997 in Bunhill Fields. "Bindweed" is a name for the plant which some call morning-glory and botanists know as convolvulus.

I saw the bindweed curl about your tomb
Whereon I set a rose, now short of breath,
And marked the similarity of death
Between your chance to live, its time to bloom.
For though your maker overflowed your hours
Yet still upon your blossom climbed the weed;
You noticed but did nothing; thus its seed
Cast round the earth, and choked your budding flowers.
But brazen trumpets round its conquering green
This bindweed blossom, in the rose's stead;
Just so, before you took this rosy bed
You sometimes woke and showed what might have been.
But now your chance is gone as chances go.
I've learned your lesson. Let me find the hoe.
marnanel: (Default)
It's been too long since I wrote a sonnet. I don't know whether this is any good. (Do I need to link to this?)

My talent (or my curse) is getting lost:
my routes are recondite and esoteric.
Perverted turns on every road I crossed
have dogged my feet from Dover up to Berwick.
My move to London only served to show
what fearful feast of foolishness was mine:
I lost my way from Tower Hill to Bow,
and rode the wrong way round the Circle Line.
In nameless London lanes I wandered then
whose tales belied my tattered A to Z,
and even now, in memory again
I plod despairing, Barking in my head,
still losing track of who and where I am,
silent, upon a street in Dagenham.
marnanel: (Default)
My first sonnet, circa 1991 (when I was 16). I know line 2 is short, but there IS a volta!

A MINOR ACCIDENT

I saw upon the road to school today
Blood, bones and feathers on the tar.
Some little bird had flown down on the way...
And been squashed flat by some enormous car.
Charles Darwin tells us in his famous Theory
How birds and beasts adapt to suit their need,
A Camel in the desert is not weary,
Giraffes from trees as tall as houses feed.
So blackbirds, fearing danger from the sky,
From falcons, hawks and other birds of prey
Fly low in terror. That's the reason why
The car had hit the one I saw today.
So, soon will frightened country ones fly down,
And those that rise, be birds-about-the-town?
marnanel: (Default)
Roz Kaveney wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian about atheists' response to "I'll pray for you". This is notable because it was in the form of a sonnet. I think more opinion pages should be in sonnet form.

I commented with an impromptu sonnet of my own.

Mary

Aug. 16th, 2010 11:46 am
marnanel: (Default)
Today is the feast of Mary the mother of Jesus. (At least, yesterday was, but yesterday was a Sunday; so some of us observe it today.)

I don't think this is the best thing I've ever written, and critics have said it's not painful enough. But it's the best I have for today, so you can read it anyway.

Her soul proclaimed the greatness of the Lord
who dwelt within her belly, and her mind.
The light shines on, the humble are restored,
and food and mercy given to mankind.
That day she saw the everlasting light
she memorised, and treasured up inside,
investing for the fading of her sight
the hope that living light had never died;
till hope itself within her arms lay dying,
a frozen journey, ready to embark,
and nothing more is left for her but trying
to comprehend the greatness of the dark;
yet somewhere shines the light in spite of that,
and silently she sobbed magnificat.

14 by 14

Aug. 1st, 2010 02:39 pm
marnanel: (Default)
I have a poem in this month's 14 by 14.  I think it's among my top five favourite pieces I've ever written.

gjm11: I'm sorry I never responded to your critique; it was incisive and helpful.  Thank you!

Two things still trouble me about the poem (but read it before you read these):
  • There are two conscious references to the Book of Revelation in the sestet, but I cannot remember having consciously thought about the "river of the water of life, bright as crystal" when I wrote "a spring to clean away the winter's dust"; yet it's in the next verse to one of the conscious references and I must surely have done it on purpose.  It's far too neat for an accident.
  • The entire sonnet came out as a StealthPun; I thought of making it explicit and decided against it.  I would love to know whether anyone noticed.
marnanel: (Default)
I thought I would walk to the Collabora party from the conference. It was four miles, a pleasant walk. On the way I had to stop to write a sonnet.

If anything should happen to The Hague,
if someday they abandon Amsterdam,
philosophers will take these strange and vague
descriptions, and derive each tree and tram
by mathematical necessity:
should nations shake their fists across the seas
with words of war, it follows there must be
a middle ground, a people loving peace.
And is this scrap alone a netherland?
Not so: we spend our nights beneath the sky,
and every country's low for us, who stand
a thousand miles below the lights on high;
if only I could learn to live as such,
and count myself as kindly as the Dutch.


I passed the Palace of Justice on the way, which is very beautiful. Collabora's party was as impressive as always, with barbecues and beer. This morning I managed to pull myself out of the resulting hangover enough to give part of a talk on xzibit. (It was really Guillaume's talk, but he was kind enough to give me a timeslice.) The talk went well except that the demo failed, due to my having tried to fix something and breaking it further. There will presumably be video of it all at some point.

Many thanks to Collabora for organising the party, but still more for sending me here (and to Cambridge).

I have written a nautilus plugin to post photos online. I might tidy it up a little and package it.

The MeeGo book is fast approaching publication. It feels like levelling up.
marnanel: (Default)
If anything should happen to The Hague,
if someday they abandon Amsterdam,
philosophers will take these strange and vague
descriptions, and derive each tree and tram
by mathematical necessity:
should nations shake their fists across the seas
with words of war, it follows there must be
a middle ground, a people loving peace.
And is this scrap alone a netherland?
Not so: we spend our nights beneath the sky,
and every country's low for us, who stand
a thousand miles below the lights on high;
if only I could learn to live as such,
and count myself as kindly as the Dutch.
marnanel: (Default)
I don't think I'd posted this here before. I wrote it last month, but I'm still not happy with it.

Also, why am I not posting the more obviously explicit religious verse of my youth and nevertheless posting hagiographies?  Is the old stuff any good, after all?

marnanel: (Default)


(Text here. The animation was done with a Perl script.)
marnanel: (Default)
Did I ever show you this? I wrote it when I was eighteen. Here's a rare explanatory note from me: this sonnet is about bellringing. There are eight monosyllables in each line for the sound of eight bells ringing rounds; "four to two" in the fifth line is a called change; "look to" is the command to start ringing; "stand" is the command to stop. There are other buried references.

Look to your Lord who gives you life.
This year must end as all the years.
You live here in the vale of tears.
This year brought toil, the next year strife.
For too, too soon we break our stay.
The end of things may be a birth.
The clouds will fade and take the earth.
Make fast your joy on New Year's Day.
When dies a friend we weep and mourn.
When babes are born we drink with cheer.
But no man mourns when dies the year.
When dies the age, may you be born.
Your death, your birth, are close at hand.
In him we trust. In him we stand.

Profile

marnanel: (Default)
Monument

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 12345 6
789 10111213
14151617 181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated May. 23rd, 2017 04:57 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios