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ARS POETICA

ARS POETICA is a group for those who love poetry, anyone who is just curious, and everyone in between. Post your favorite or original poems.

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Severed Selves


Two separate divided silences,
Which, brought together, would find loving voice;
Two glances which together would rejoice
In love, now lost like stars beyond dark trees;
Two hands apart whose touch alone gives ease;
Two bosoms which, heart-shrined with mutual flame,
Would, meeting in one clasp, be made the same;
Two souls, the shores wave-mocked of sundering seas:--

Such are we now. Ah! may our hope forecast
Indeed one hour again, when on this stream
Of darkened love once more the light shall gleam?
An hour how slow to come, how quickly past,
Which blooms and fades, and only leaves at last,
Faint as shed flowers, the attenuated dream.

-- Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Comment by Rogue Filthy Punk on January 2, 2009 at 6:34am
Storm
by Tim Minchin


Inner North London, top floor flat
All white walls, white carpet, white cat,
Rice Paper partitions
Modern art and ambition
The host’s a physician,
Lovely bloke, has his own practice
His girlfriend’s an actress
An old mate from home
And they’re always great fun.
So to dinner we’ve come.


The 5th guest is an unknown,
The hosts have just thrown
Us together for a favour
because this girl’s just arrived from Australia
And has moved to North London
And she’s the sister of someone
Or has some connection.

As we make introductions
I’m struck by her beauty
She’s irrefutably fair
With dark eyes and dark hair
But as she sits
I admit I’m a little bit wary
because I notice the tip of the wing of a fairy
Tattooed on that popular area
Just above the derrière
And when she says “I’m Sagittarien”
I confess a pigeonhole starts to form
And is immediately filled with pigeon
When she says her name is Storm.

Chatter is initially bright and light hearted
But it’s not long before Storm gets started:
“You can’t know anything,
Knowledge is merely opinion”
She opines, over her Cabernet Sauvignon
Vis a vis
Some unhippily
Empirical comment by me

“Not a good start” I think
We’re only on pre-dinner drinks
And across the room, my wife
Widens her eyes
Silently begs me, Be Nice
A matrimonial warning
Not worth ignoring
So I resist the urge to ask Storm
Whether knowledge is so loose-weave
Of a morning
When deciding whether to leave
Her apartment by the front door
Or a window on the second floor.

The food is delicious and Storm,
Whilst avoiding all meat
Happily sits and eats
While the good doctor, slightly pissedly
Holds court on some anachronistic aspect of medical history
When Storm suddenly she insists
“But the human body is a mystery!
Science just falls in a hole
When it tries to explain the the nature of the soul.”

My hostess throws me a glance
She, like my wife, knows there’s a chance
That I’ll be off on one of my rants
But my lips are sealed.
I just want to enjoy my meal
And although Storm is starting to get my goat
I have no intention of rocking the boat,
Although it’s becoming a bit of a wrestle
Because - like her meteorological namesake -
Storm has no such concerns for our vessel:

“Pharmaceutical companies are the enemy
They promote drug dependency
At the cost of the natural remedies
That are all our bodies need
They are immoral and driven by greed.
Why take drugs
When herbs can solve it?
Why use chemicals
When homeopathic solvents
Can resolve it?
It’s time we all return-to-live
With natural medical alternatives.”

And try as hard as I like,
A small crack appears
In my diplomacy-dike.
“By definition”, I begin
“Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?
Medicine.”

“So you don’t believe
In ANY Natural remedies?”


“On the contrary actually:
Before we came to tea,
I took a natural remedy
Derived from the bark of a willow tree
A painkiller that’s virtually side-effect free
It’s got a weird name,
Darling, what was it again?
Masprin?
Basprin?
Asprin!
Which I paid about a buck for
Down at my local drugstore.

The debate briefly abates
As our hosts collects plates
but as they return with desserts
Storm pertly asserts,

“Shakespeare said it first:
There are more things in heaven and earth
Than exist in your philosophy…
Science is just how we’re trained to look at reality,
It can’t explain love or spirituality.
How does science explain psychics?
Auras; the afterlife; the power of prayer?”

I’m becoming aware
That I’m staring,
I’m like a rabbit suddenly trapped
In the blinding headlights of vacuous crap.
Maybe it’s the Hamlet she just misquothed
Or the eighth glass of wine I just quaffed
But my diplomacy dike groans
And the arsehole held back by its stones
Can be held back no more:

“Look , Storm, I don’t mean to bore you
But there’s no such thing as an aura!
Reading Auras is like reading minds
Or star-signs or tea-leaves or meridian lines
These people aren’t plying a skill,
They are either lying or mentally ill.
Same goes for those who claim to hear God’s demands
And Spiritual healers who think they have magic hands.

By the way,
Why is it OK
For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?
Is it not totally fucked in the head
Lying to some crying woman whose child has died
And telling her you’re in touch with the other side?
That’s just fundamentally sick
Do we need to clarify that there’s no such thing as a psychic?
What, are we fucking 2?
Do we actually think that Horton Heard a Who?
Do we still think that Santa brings us gifts?
That Michael Jackson hasn’t had facelifts?
Are we still so stunned by circus tricks
That we think that the dead would
Wanna talk to pricks
Like John Edwards?

Storm to her credit despite my derision
Keeps firing off clichés with startling precision
Like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition

“You’re so sure of your position
But you’re just closed-minded
I think you’ll find
Your faith in Science and Tests
Is just as blind
As the faith of any fundamentalist"

Wow, that's a good point,
Let me think for a bit...
Oh wait, my mistake,
That's absolute bullshit.

Science adjusts its views
Based on what's observed.
Faith is denial of observation,
So that belief can be presrved.

If you can show me, say,
Homeopathy works,
I will change my mind,
I will spin on a fucking dime.
I'll be as embarrassed as hell,
Yet I will run through the steets yelling,
It's a Miracle!

Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And whilst its memory
Of a long lost drop
Of onion juice is infinite,
It aomehow forgets
All the poo it's had in it.

You show me that it works,
And how it works,
And when I've recovered
From the shock,
I will take a compass
And carve
'Fancy that'
On the side of my cock.

Everyone's just staring now,
But I'm pretty pissed and
I've dug this far down.
So I figure...
In for a penny, in for a pound!

Life is full of mystery, yeah, but,
There are answers out there
And they won't be found,
By people sitting around,
Looking serious,
And saying: Isn't life mysterious,
Let's sit here and hope,
Let's call up the fucking Pope,
Let's go on Oprah,
And interview Deepak Chopra.

If you must watch telly,
You should watch Scooby-Doo,
That show was so cool!
Because every time
There was a church with a ghoul,
Or a ghost in a school,
They looked beneath the mask.
And what was inside?
The fucking janitor,
Or the dude who ran the water slide!

Because throughout history,
Every mystery,
Ever solved,
Has turned out to be -
NOT MAGIC


Does the idea that there
Might be knowledge frighten you?
Does the idea that one afternoon
On wiki-fucking-pedia
Might enlighten you,
Frighten you?

Does the motion that there might not be
A supranatural,
So blow your hippy noodle,
That you'd rather just stand
In the fog of your
Inability to google?

Isn't this enough?
Just
This World?
Just
This,
Beautiful
Complex
Wonderfully Unfathomable
Natural World?

How does it so fail to hold our attention,
That we have to diminish it
With the invention,
Of cheap man-made
Myths and monsters.

If you're so into your Shakespeare,
Lend me your ear

To gild refined gold,
To paint the lily,
To throw perfume on the violet,
Is just fucking silly.

'Or something like that'

Or what about Satchmo?
I see trees of green
Red roses too...

And fine, if you wish to,
Glorify Krishna and Vishnu,
In a post-colonial,
Condescenting,
Bottled-up-and-labeled
Kind of way,
Whatever, that's okay,
But here's what gives me a hard-on,

I'm a tiny, insignificant,
Ignorant bit of carbon.
I have one life,
And it is short and unimportant,
But thanks to recent scientific advances...
I get to live twice as long,
As my great-great-great-great
uncleses and auntses.
Twice as long!
To live this life of mine,
Twice as long,
To love this wife of mine.
Twice as many years,
Of friends, of wine,
Of sharing curries and getting shitty,
At good looking hippies,
With fairies on their spines,
And butterflies on their titties.

And if perchance, I have offended,
Think but this and all is mended,
We'd as well be ten minutes
Back in time,
For all the chance
You'll change your mind.
Comment by Ian Mason on January 2, 2009 at 1:16am
A favouite. Once highly regarded, now considered Victorian doggerel.


By William Henley

Invictus
1875
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond the place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
 

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