Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

July 31, 2006

Sketches by Robert Seymour, Fish Poet Unknown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 3:09 am

The two fun fish poems below are by an anonymous poet. Andrew Mullins is possibly the poet’s penname as far as can be surmised.

The poems accompany two of Robert Seymour’s (1800-1836) sketches, from Seymour’s Sketches, Part 4. Click on them to blow them up and see the detail better. Notably, Seymour did the illustrations, collaborating with Charles Dickens in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.



“This is a werry lonely spot, Sir; I wonder you ar’n’t afeard of being robbed.”

Job Timmins was a tailor bold,
And well he knew his trade,
And though he was no fighting man
Had often dress’d a blade!

Quoth he, one day–“I have not had
A holiday for years,
So I’m resolv’d to go and fish,
And cut for once the shears.”

So donning quick his Sunday’s suit,
He took both rod and line,
And bait for fish–and prog for one,
And eke a flask of wine.

For he was one who loved to live,
And said–“Where’er I roam
I like to feed–and though abroad,
To make myself at home.”

Beneath a shady grove of trees
He sat him down to fish,
And having got a cover, he
Long’d much to get a dish.

He cast his line, and watch’d his float,
Slow gliding down the tide;
He saw it sink! he drew it up,
And lo! a fish he spied.

He took the struggling gudgeon off,
And cried–“I likes his looks,
I wish he’d live–but fishes die
Soon as they’re–off the hooks!”

At last a dozen more he drew–
(Fine-drawing ’twas to him!)
But day past by–and twilight came,
All objects soon grew dim.

“One more!” he cried, “and then I’ll pack,
And homeward trot to sup,”–
But as he spoke, he heard a tread,
Which caused him to look up.

Poor Timmins trembled as he gazed
Upon the stranger’s face;
For cut purse! robber! all too plain,
His eye could therein trace.

“Them’s werry handsome boots o’ yourn,”
The ruffian smiling cried,
“Jist draw your trotters out–my pal–
And we’ll swop tiles, besides.”

“That coat too, is a pretty fit–
Don’t tremble so–for I
Von’t rob you of a single fish,
I’ve other fish to fry.”

Poor Timmins was obliged to yield
Hat, coat, and boots–in short
He was completely stripp’d–and paid
Most dearly for his “sport.”

And as he homeward went, he sigh’d–
“Farewell to stream and brook;
O! yes, they’ll catch me there again
A fishing–with a hook!”




Along the banks, at early dawn,
Trudged Nobbs and Nobbs’s son,
With rod and line, resolved that day
Great fishes should be won.

At last they came unto a bridge,
Cried Nobbs, “Oh! this is fine!”
And feeling sure ‘twould answer well,
He dropp’d the stream a line.

“We cannot find a fitter place,
If twenty miles we march;
Its very look has fix’d my choice,
So knowing and–so arch!”

He baited and he cast his line,
When soon, to his delight,
He saw his float bob up and down,
And lo! he had a bite!

“A gudgeon, Tom, I think it is!”
Cried Nobbs, “Here, take the prize;
It weighs a pound–in its own scales,
I’m quite sure by its size.”

He cast again his baited hook,
And drew another up!
And cried, “We are in luck to-day,
How glorious we shall sup!”

All in the basket Tommy stow’d
The piscatory spoil;
Says Nobbs, “We’ve netted two at least,
Albeit we’ve no toil.”

Amazed at his own luck, he threw
The tempting bait again,
And presently a nibble had–
A bite! he pull’d amain!

His rod beneath the fish’s weight
Now bent just like a bow,
“What’s this?” cried Nobbs; his son replied,
“A salmon, ’tis, I know.”

And sure enough a monstrous perch,
Of six or seven pounds,
He from the water drew, whose bulk
Both dad and son confounds.

“O! Gemini!” he said, when he
“O! Pisces!” should have cried;
And tremblingly the wriggling fish
Haul’d to the bridge’s side.

When, lo! just as he stretched his hand
To grasp the perch’s fin,
The slender line was snapp’d in twain,
The perch went tumbling in!

“Gone! gone! by gosh!” scream’d Nobbs, while Tom
Too eager forward bent,
And, with a kick, their basket quick
Into the river sent.


Seymour’s Sketches, Complete


July 29, 2006

in sideout side

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 1:37 am

in sideout side

inside its cage a tiger stalks junglebeasts
a bird flies the sky to a farwood perch
stairs cascade from dreamroom
drawers to my study i exitthrough a whitepage door door door


a hairpin will
a hair pinwill

an afghan ghostwoman
(thrown through a lookwindow comedeath shatterglass
by an apoplectic liarcalling taxcollector legally)
stilllooks for her husband’s hidmoney
still to thisday this veryday no oneknows his stashaway way

i’ll take thetiger you take the bird
i’ll take the tiger you take thebird
your hubby’s selfasylumated
haven’t you heard

it’s alwhite alwhite now

it was all astral projectionlike stormyweather anyway
stormy weathereyes
freedom spaciousskies
do you have an extra hair pin for a poorstill liver

turn around
minute flybird

going back and forth to the junglebeasts
there’s no placelike home noplace likehome noplay

Vargstad VGS

As published in The Quarterly Journal of Ideology Volume 25, 2002.

July 28, 2006

The Poetry Selections in The Atlantic Monthly (July 1867)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 1:36 am



A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

~ ~ ~

The following three poems:

“Mona’s Mother” by Alice Cary (p. 22, 23 & 24)

“Freedom in Brazil” by John G. Whittier (p. 62)

“An Ember-Picture” by James Russell Lowell (p. 99 & 100)

are the poetry selections in the July 1867 Atlantic Monthly.

(Candidates for a hypothetical BAP that year, maybe?)

~ ~ ~

by Alice Cary

Mona’s Mother

In the porch that brier-vines smother,
At her wheel, sits Mona’s mother.
        O, the day is dying bright!
Roseate shadows, silver dimming,
Ruby lights through amber swimming,
        Bring the still and starry night.

Sudden she is ‘ware of shadows
Going out across the meadows
        From the slowly sinking sun,–
Going through the misty spaces
That the rippling ruby laces,
Shadows, like the violets tangled,
Like the soft light, softly mingled,
        Till the two seem just as one!

Every tell-tale wind doth waft her
Little breaths of maiden laughter.
        O, divinely dies the day!
And the swallow, on the rafter,
        In her nest of sticks and clay,–
On the rafter, up above her,
With her patience doth reprove her,
        Twittering soft the time away;
Never stopping, never stopping,
With her wings so warmly dropping
        Round her nest of sticks and clay.

“Take, my bird, O take some other
        Eve than this to twitter gay!”
Sayeth, prayeth Mona’s mother,
To the slender-throated swallow
        On her nest of sticks and clay;
For her sad eyes needs must follow
Down the misty, mint-sweet hollow,
        Where the ruby colors play
        With the gold, and with the gray.
“Yet, my little Lady-feather,
        You do well to sit and sing,”
Crieth, sigheth Mona’s mother.
“If you would, you could no other.
        Can the leaf fail with the spring?
Can the tendril stay from twining
        When the sap begins to run?
Or the dew-drop keep from shining
        With her body full o’ the sun?
Nor can you, from gladness, either;
        Therefore, you do well to sing.
Up and o’er the downy lining
        Of your bird-bed I can see
Two round little heads together,
Pushed out softly through your wing.
        But alas! my bird, for me!”

In the porch with roses burning
        All across, she sitteth lonely.
        O, her soul is dark with dread!
Round and round her slow wheel turning,
Lady brow down-dropped serenely,
Lady hand uplifted queenly,
Pausing in the spinning only
        To rejoin the broken thread,–
Pausing only for the winding,
With the carded silken binding
        Of the flax, the distaff-head.

All along the branches creeping,
To their leafy beds of sleeping
        Go the blue-birds and the brown;
Blackbird stoppeth now his clamor,
And the little yellowhammer
        Droppeth head in winglet down.
Now the rocks rise bleak and barren
        Through the twilight, gray and still;
In the marsh-land now the heron
        Clappeth close his horny bill.
Death-watch now begins his drumming
And the fire-fly, going, coming,
        Weaveth zigzag lines of light,–
Lines of zigzag, golden-threaded,
Up the marshy valley, shaded
        O’er and o’er with vapors white.
Now the lily, open-hearted,
Of her dragon-fly deserted,
        Swinging on the wind so low,
Gives herself, with trust audacious,
To the wild warm wave that washes
        Through her fingers, soft and slow.

O the eyes of Mona’s mother!
        Dim they grow with tears unshed;
For no longer may they follow
Down the misty mint-sweet hollow,
Down along the yellow mosses
That the brook with silver crosses.
        Ah! the day is dead, is dead;
And the cold and curdling shadows,
Stretching from the long, low meadows,
Darker, deeper, nearer spread,
Till she cannot see the twining
Of the briers, nor see the lining
Round the porch of roses red,–
Till she cannot see the hollow,
Nor the little steel-winged swallow,
        On her clay-built nest o’erhead.

Mona’s mother falleth mourning:
        O, ‘t is hard, so hard, to see
Prattling child to woman turning,
        As to grander company!
Little heart she lulled with hushes
Beating, burning up with blushes,
All with meditative dreaming
On the dear delicious gleaming
Of the bridal veil and ring;
Finding in the sweet ovations
Of its new, untried relations
        Better joys than she can bring.

In her hand her wheel she keepeth,
And her heart within her leapeth,
With a burdened, bashful yearning,
        For the babe’s weight on her knee,
        For the loving lisp of glee,
Sweet as larks’ throats in the morning,
        Sweet as hum of honey-bee.

“O my child!” cries Mona’s mother,
“Will you, can you take another
        Name ere mine upon your lips?
Can you, only for the asking,
Give to other hands the clasping
        Of your rosy finger-tips?”

Fear on fear her sad soul borrows,–
        O the dews are falling fair!
But no fair thing now can move her;
Vainly walks the moon above her,
Turning out her golden furrows
        On the cloudy fields of air.

Sudden she is ‘ware of shadows,
Coming in across the meadows,
        And of murmurs, low as love,–
Murmurs mingled like the meeting
Of the winds, or like the beating
        Of the wings of dove with dove.

In her hand the slow wheel stoppeth,
Silken flax from distaff droppeth,
And a cruel, killing pain
Striketh up from heart to brain;
And she knoweth by that token
        That the spinning all is vain,
That the troth-plight has been spoken,
And the thread of life thus broken
        Never can be joined again.

~ ~ ~

by John G. Whittier

Freedom in Brazil

With clearer light, Cross of the South, shine forth
        In blue Brazilian skies;
And thou, O river, cleaving half the earth
        From sunset to sunrise,
From the great mountains to the Atlantic waves
        Thy joy’s long anthem pour.
Yet a few days (God make them less!) and slaves
        Shall shame thy pride no more.
No fettered feet thy shaded margins press;
        But all men shall walk free
Where thou, the high-priest of the wilderness,
        Hast wedded sea to sea.

And thou, great-hearted ruler, through whose mouth
        The word of God is said,
Once more, “Let there be light!”—Son of the South,
        Lift up thy honored head,
Wear unashamed a crown by thy desert
        More than by birth thy own,
Careless of watch and ward; thou art begirt
        By grateful hearts alone.
The moated wall and battle-ship may fail,
        But safe shall justice prove;
Stronger than greaves of brass or iron mail
        The panoply of love.

Crowned doubly by man’s blessing and God’s grace,
        Thy future is secure;
Who frees a people makes his statue’s place
        In Time’s Valhalla sure.
Lo! from his Neva’s banks the Scythian Czar
        Stretches to thee his hand
Who, with the pencil of the Northern star,
        Wrote freedom on his land.
And he whose grave is holy by our calm
        And prairied Sangamon,
From his gaunt hand shall drop the martyr’s palm
        To greet thee with “Well done!”

And thou, O Earth, with smiles thy face make sweet,
        And let thy wail be stilled,
To hear the Muse of prophecy repeat
        Her promise half fulfilled.
The Voice that spake at Nazareth speaks still,
        No sound thereof hath died;
Alike thy hope and Heaven’s eternal will
        Shall yet be satisfied.
The years are slow, the vision tarrieth long,
        And far the end may be;
But, one by one, the fiends of ancient wrong
        Go out and leave thee free.

~ ~ ~

by James Russell Lowell

An Ember-Picture

How strange are the freaks of memory!
        The lessons of life we forget,
While a trifle, a trick of color,
        In the wonderful web is set,–

Set by some mordant of fancy,
        And, despite the wear and tear
Of time or distance or trouble,
        Insists on its right to be there.

A chance had brought us together;
        Our talk was of matters of course;
We were nothing, one to the other,
        But a short half-hour’s resource.

We spoke of French acting and actors,
        And their easy, natural way,–
Of the weather, for it was raining
        As we drove home from the play.

We debated the social nothings
        Men take such pains to discuss;
The thunderous rumors of battle
        Were silent the while for us.

Arrived at her door, we left her
        With a drippingly hurried adieu,
And our wheels went crunching the gravel
        Of the oak-darkened avenue.

As we drove away through the shadow,
        The candle she held in the door,
From rain-varnished tree-trunk to tree-trunk
        Flashed fainter, and flashed no more,–

Flashed fainter and wholly faded
        Before we had passed the wood;
But the light of the face behind it
        Went with me and stayed for good.

The vision of scarce a moment,
        And hardly marked at the time,
It comes unbidden to haunt me,
        Like a scrap of ballad-rhyme.

Had she beauty? Well, not what they call so:
        You may find a thousand as fair,
And yet there’s her face in my memory,
        With no special right to be there.

As I sit sometimes in the twilight,
        And call back to life in the coals
Old faces and hopes and fancies
        Long buried,–good rest to their souls!–

Her face shines out of the embers;
        I see her holding the light,
And hear the crunch of the gravel
        And the sweep of the rain that night.

‘Tis a face that can never grow older,
        That never can part with its gleam;
‘Tis a gracious possession forever,
        For what is it all but a dream?

July 26, 2006

"The Korathy’s Lullaby" for you to tattoo by

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 5:18 am

“The Korathy is the tattooer of the Indian village, who offers her services for a small fee. Hindu females are very fond of having their bodies tattooed. The Korathy first makes a sketch of the figure of a scorpion or a serpent on the part of the body offered to her for tattooing, then takes a number of sharp needles, dips them in some liquid preparation which she has ready, and pricks the flesh most mercilessly. In a few days the whole appears green. This is considered a mark of beauty among the Hindus. While the tattooing takes place the Korathy sings a crude song, so as to make the person undergoing the process forget the pain. The following is as nearly as possible a translation of the song which I myself heard.” –T. Ramakrishna (or Thottakadu Ramakrisha Pillai, 1854-)

      from Tales of Ind: and Other Poems, 1896

      by T. Ramakrishna

      The Korathy’s Lullaby

Stay, darling, stay–’tis only for an hour,
And you will be the fairest of the fair.
Your lotus eyes can soothe the savage beast,
Your lips are like the newly blossomed rose,
Your teeth—they shine like pearls; but what are they
Before the beauties of my handiwork?

Stay, darling, stay–’tis only for an hour,
And you will be the fairest of the fair.
I’ve left my home, and all day hard I toil
So to adorn the maidens of the land
That erring husbands may return to them;
Such are the beauties of my handiwork.

Stay, darling, stay–’tis only for an hour,
And you will be the fairest of the fair;
In days of old fair Seeta laid her head
Upon the lap of one of our own clan,
When with her lord she wandered in the wilds,
And like the emerald shone her beauteous arms.

Stay, darling, stay–’tis only for an hour,
And you will be the fairest of the fair.
And often in the wilds, so it is said,
She also of the Pandus went in quest
Of one of us, but found not even one,
And sighed she was not like her sisters blest.

Stay, darling, stay–’tis only for an hour,
And you will be the fairest of the fair.
My work is done; rejoice, for you will be
The fairest of your sisters in the land.
Rejoice for evermore, among them you
Will shine as doth the moon among the stars.

July 25, 2006

Poetry, Language, and Word Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 5:59 am

Tonight I came across Games for Everybody by May C. Hofmann, published in 1905. And it reminded me of a word game my father and mother came home with when I was young. They had been at another couple’s home. This had to be during an amicable time for them, for they separated when I was 13. Maybe from 10 years on, the Five Letter Word Game has been my favorite pen-and-paper game.

Five Letter Word Game

This is for two people sitting across from each other. Each player takes a piece of letter- or legal-size paper, and folds the top over one inch. Beneath her own resulting flap, each writes a five letter word that the other cannot see. It is also a good idea to write the alphabet at the bottom of the paper, so that eliminated letters can be crossed out, and discovered letters can be circled. The player who gets (but rarely guesses) her opponent’s word first wins.

Let’s say Player One has chosen the word FIELD and Player Two has chosen JUDGE.

Player One starts and offers the five-letter word BULKY–and writes it down on her sheet of paper.

Player Two responds by saying the number of letters the offered word has in common with the word she has hidden beneath her flap. Her response is to say “One” for the U in both JUDGE and BULKY. Player One then writes the answer “1” next to BULKY.

Player two begins by saying BONUS and writes that down.

This turns out to be an excellent play, because FIELD and BONUS have no letters in common, so Player One responds “Zero” and Player Two gets to cross out the five letters B, N, O, S, and U in the alphabet, but also has BONUS 0 written, to aid in creating further words as the game progresses.

Player One then says CHALK.

Player Two now responds “Zero” because CHALK and JUDGE share no letters. So Player One gets to cross out A, C, H, K, L in the alphabet; has CHALK 0 on her paper; but furthermore, gets to cross out those letters in the first word given and now shows BULKY 1 as the first word, meaning that either the B, the U, or the Y is one of the letters in her opponent’s hidden word.

The game progresses until the offering of one of the players is the word beneath the other’s flap.

Note that the use of words with double letters needs to be agreed upon one way or the other by the players, either as hidden words or offered ones. But, if it is agreed that they are allowed, offering DAFFY against FIELD gets the answer of “Two”, one for the D and another for one F only.

~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below are word and language games gleaned from May C. Hofmann’s Games for Everybody. Some of the games use song lyrics or titles to any books, but are easily adapted to be poetry games if this is preferred. Have fun!

Broken Quotations

This is a good game to play at the beginning of a social gathering, as the guests have to mingle together and thus become better acquainted, and the stiffness of a formal gathering passes off.

The hostess has prepared familiar quotations which were written on paper and then cut in two or three parts and pinned in different places around the room.

The guests are requested to find as many quotations as they can during a certain length of time.

As the parts are scattered all over the room, it isn’t as easy as it sounds to find the complete quotations. The person gathering the most quotations, deserves a prize.

~ ~ ~

Building Sentences

The hostess begins by saying one word and announces that each word of the sentence must begin with the initial letter of the given word. The player to her right gives the second word, the next player, the third, and so on, until the sentence is complete only when it reaches the hostess.

Each player must be careful not to give a word which with the others completes the sentence, as the hostess is the only one who is supposed to finish it–but sometimes it seems as though all the words of that letter have been taken; if this is the case, the player who finished the sentence must pay a forfeit or drop out of the game.

Suppose there are nine players and number one says “An,” number two “Angry,” number three “Ape,” number four “Ate,” number five “Apples”; thus number five is out or pays a forfeit as the sentence is completed and there are still four more to play. Thus the sentence might have been “An angry ape ate attractive, audacious, ancient April apples.”

This sentence is absurd, but the more ridiculous, the greater the fun.

For the second turn the player to the right of the hostess begins, using a word beginning with another letter and so on, until each player has started a sentence.

~ ~ ~

Capping Verses

To while away the time before dinner, or while sitting in the twilight, this is a simple amusement for those who love poetry.

One begins by giving a line or verse of poetry. The next one continues, but his verse must commence with the last letter of the previous verse, and so on, each one capping the other’s verse.

Suppose No.1 quotes:

“Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

No. 2 continues quoting:

“Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?”

No. 3:

“O speak again, bright angel.”

No. 4:

“Like summer tempest came her tears,
‘Sweet, my child, I live for thee.'”

and so on until the guests tire of it.

~ ~ ~


Provide each player with pencil and paper. The leader has a dictionary which she opens at any place and selects a word which the rest are to define.

The players write the word and their definition of it on the slips of paper. When the leader taps a bell all the slips must be collected and mixed up in a basket or hat.

Each player then draws out a slip and the definitions are read aloud in turn. The leader decides which one has written a definition most like the one in the dictionary. The author of the best one rises, receives the dictionary, gives out a word and the game proceeds as before.

~ ~ ~

The Five Senses

All the players sit in a circle. No. 1 begins by naming something he has seen, being careful what his last word is, as it must furnish him with a rhyme for the rest of the game. Each player in turn tells what he has seen, then No. 1 repeats his first statement and adds what he heard, the next time, what he tasted; then what he smelt; and lastly, what he felt. For example, No. 1 says, “I saw a ring of solid gold.” No. 2 says, “I saw a boy fall off the car.”

The second time round No. 1 says,

“I saw a ring of solid gold.
I heard a story twice told.”

No. 2 says,

“I saw a boy fall off the car.
I heard the war news from afar.”

and so on, after going around five times, No. 1’s complete rhyme would be,

“I saw a ring of solid gold.
I heard a story twice told.
I tasted cheese that was too old.
I smelt hay that soon would mould.
I felt for something I couldn’t hold.”

Do not have the verses written as there is more fun in trying to remember one’s rhyme

~ ~ ~

Literary Salad

Salad leaves are prepared for this game by folding and twisting pieces of green tissue paper until they look like lettuce leaves. Then paste slips of white paper containing a quotation, on each leaf.

The participants of this salad are requested to guess the name of the author of their quotation. This may be played very easily at a church social where the leaves may contain Bible verses instead of quotations, and the players are asked to tell just where their verses are found, in what book and chapter.

~ ~ ~

Misquoted Quotations

Choose very familiar quotations from Longfellow, Shakespeare, Tennyson, or any well-known author or poet, and write them on slips of paper.

Change some of the words of the original, or even a whole line, and when each guest receives his slip he is requested to repeat the quotation correctly.

For example–“To be, or not to be; that is the question,” may be written, “To be, or not to be: that is the problem.”

~ ~ ~


Any number of persons may play this game. One is sent out of the room while the rest choose some proverb. Then he is called in and asks each player in turn a question. In the answer, no matter what the question is, one word of the proverb must be given.

Suppose the proverb “Make hay while the sun shines” is taken, then player No. 1 would have “Make”; No. 2, “hay”; No. 3, “while”; No. 4, “the”; No. 5, “sun”; No. 6, “shines”; No. 7, “make”; etc., giving each player a word, often repeating the proverb several times.

The answers to the questions must be given quickly, and no special word emphasized. Often the one guessing will have to go around several times before he can discover any word which will reveal the proverb. The one whose answer gave the clue must leave the room next, and it becomes his turn to guess.

~ ~ ~


Provide each player with slips of paper and pencil. The hostess then announces that each one is to write some question at the top of the paper, fold the paper over and pass it to the player at the left, who writes a noun, folds the paper over and passes it to the left again.

The players who then receive the slips are requested to write one or more stanzas of poetry containing the noun and question written at the top of the paper.

Allow fifteen minutes for this, then pass the papers to the left and they are then read in turn. A prize may be given to the one who wrote the best poetry.


Question–Where did you get that hat?


“Where did you get that hat?”
Said Shortie to Mr. Fat,
“I stole it from the Fair,
When I was leaving there.”
Question–Can you dance?


“May-day! let us away!
Can you dance?
Here’s your chance,
On this lovely May-day.”

~ ~ ~

Stray Syllables

Prepare long strips of paper on which the guests are requested to write several words of three or more syllables, leaving spaces between each syllable.

When this is done, cut up the words into the syllables and mix thoroughly. Then each player draws three syllables and tries to construct a word.

If a word can’t be made of all three syllables, maybe it can be made of two, but if it is then impossible to construct a word, the player must wait until the rest draw three syllables again, and perchance he may be able to construct two words, using the syllables he could not use before.

The one constructing the most words, wins the game.

~ ~ ~


Provide the players with pencil and paper. Each one then writes on his piece of paper ten letters of the alphabet in any order, using no letter twice. The papers are then passed to the right and each one is requested to write a telegram, using the ten letters for the beginning of the ten words, just in the order given. The papers are then passed again and the telegrams are read aloud. Some will be very amusing.


A. E. F. J. K. L. N. O. P. T. Am ever frightfully jealous. Keep lookout now on Pa’s tricks.

C. B. D. W. G. H. S. I. M. Y. Come back. Down with Grandma. How shall I meet you?

~ ~ ~

Verbal Authors

The players sit in a circle. One is chosen as judge and he keeps tally. Each player in turn, rises, and names some well-known book. The first one to call out the name of the author scores a point. The game continues until the interest ceases or the store of literary knowledge is exhausted. The player having the most points is the winner.

This game may be played in another way. Instead of calling out the author as the book is named, provide each guest with pencil and paper and announce that as a book is named, each player must write down the author and the name of some character in that book.


“The Taming of the Shrew”–
Wm. Shakespeare–Petruchio.

“Nicholas Nickleby”–
Chas. Dickens–Mr. Squeers.

Sir Walter Scott–Rebecca.

~ ~ ~

Who Am I?

As the guests arrive pin a card with a name of some noted author, statesman, or poet written on it, on their backs, so that every one can see it but themselves.

Of course, each person wants to know who he is, so the guests talk to each other as though they were the person whose name is on the other’s back, but do not mention the name, and from the conversation, they have to guess who they are.

~ ~ ~

July 24, 2006

The Guardian Newspaper’s Poetry Workshop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 4:42 am

“Want to have your work reviewed by a published poet?”

These are the words that greet you at The Guardian newspaper’s Poetry workshop. About ten months of the year, an esteemed poet is “in residence” to, not only comment on the shortlisted selections, but create the workshop theme of the month. This opportunity and service comes to us through Sarah Crown and the other folks at Guardian Unlimited Books.

This month, the poet in residence is Vicki Feaver. Here is a paragraph from her exercise on “capturing animals” at Vicki Feaver’s workshop:

Go on an animal hunt. Don’t just restrict yourself to warm-blooded animals–fish, reptiles, amoeba, will do equally well. This could be an actual field trip, or an expedition into your memory or imagination. Observe and make notes on your animal: its appearance and behaviour and habitat. Maybe it has a smell or a distinct cry.

It’s worth a go, if you write poetry. Submissions are due by e-mail at the end of the month. Just watch your time zones.

Here, from previous workshops, are the links to the exercises, for your musing pleasure, and the resulting shortlists and judges’ comments, for your reading interests.

October 2004: Poet-in-residence: Ruth Fainlight
Shortlist and comment: ‘They all reach a high standard’

November 2004: Tobias Hill
Shortlist and comment: ‘Remember poetry is an oral form at heart’

December 2004: Tobias Hill’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘A real Grand National of an exercise’

January 2005: Julia Darling’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Are your poems brave enough?

February 2005: Chris Greenhalgh’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘The endings were what made them . . .’

March 2005: Anne Stevenson’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘Many fine sonnets’

April 2005: Tony Curtis’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘The poets show an appreciation of the form . . .’

May 2005: Moniza Alvi’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘Very much alive and healthily varied’

July 2005: David Harsent’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Murdering your darlings

August 2005: Adèle Geras’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘There are things going on here beyond the words’

September 2005: Micheal O’Siadhail’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘A strikingly urban feel’

October 2005: John Burnside’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Other lives

November 2005: Lucy Newlyn’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘Poems that tell a story’

December 2005: Helen Farish’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: ‘All the poems have something to commend them . . .’

February 2006: Esther Morgan’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Ghosts, written

March 2006: Jane Duran’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Opposition victories

April 2006: Jen Hadfield’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Praise be

June 2006: Pascale Petit’s workshop
Shortlist and comment: Ut pictura poesis

July 23, 2006

"Eaglelike, Pantherlike, Are the Poet’s Desires"

Filed under: Uncategorized — Clattery MacHinery @ 3:31 am

Tonight, some of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) writings about poetry. Selections are from two of his books, first Beyond Good and Evil, and then Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None. Included along with his philosophical musings, are some of Nietzsche’s poetry.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The following seven quotes, plus the poem “From the Heights” are from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, the Helen Zimmern Translation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Poets act shamelessly towards their experiences: they exploit them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How much trouble have the poets and orators of every nation given themselves!–not excepting some of the prose writers of today, in whose ear dwells an inexorable conscientiousness–“for the sake of a folly,” as utilitarian bunglers say, and thereby deem themselves wise–“from submission to arbitrary laws,” as the anarchists say, and thereby fancy themselves “free,” even free-spirited.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Supposing that someone has often flown in his dreams, and that at last, as soon as he dreams, he is conscious of the power and art of flying as his privilege and his peculiarly enviable happiness; such a person, who believes that on the slightest impulse, he can actualize all sorts of curves and angles, who knows the sensation of a certain divine levity, an “upwards” without effort or constraint, a “downwards” without descending or lowering–without TROUBLE!–how could the man with such dream-experiences and dream-habits fail to find “happiness” differently coloured and defined, even in his waking hours! How could he fail–to long DIFFERENTLY for happiness? “Flight,” such as is described by poets, must, when compared with his own “flying,” be far too earthly, muscular, violent, far too “troublesome” for him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Finally, let us only understand profoundly enough Napoleon’s astonishment when he saw Goethe it reveals what had been regarded for centuries as the “German spirit” “VOILA UN HOMME!”–that was as much as to say “But this is a MAN! And I only expected to see a German!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All of them steeped in literature to their eyes and ears–the first artists of universal literary culture–for the most part even themselves writers, poets, intermediaries and blenders of the arts and the senses (Wagner, as musician is reckoned among painters, as poet among musicians, as artist generally among actors); all of them fanatics for EXPRESSION “at any cost”–I specially mention Delacroix, the nearest related to Wagner; all of them great discoverers in the realm of the sublime, also of the loathsome and dreadful, still greater discoverers in effect, in display, in the art of the show-shop; all of them talented far beyond their genius, out and out VIRTUOSI, with mysterious accesses to all that seduces, allures, constrains, and upsets; born enemies of logic and of the straight line, hankering after the strange, the exotic, the monstrous, the crooked, and the self-contradictory; as men, Tantaluses of the will, plebeian parvenus, who knew themselves to be incapable of a noble TEMPO or of a LENTO in life and action–think of Balzac, for instance,–unrestrained workers, almost destroying themselves by work; antinomians and rebels in manners, ambitious and insatiable, without equilibrium and enjoyment; all of them finally shattering and sinking down at the Christian cross (and with right and reason, for who of them would have been sufficiently profound and sufficiently original for an ANTI-CHRISTIAN philosophy?);–on the whole, a boldly daring, splendidly overbearing, high-flying, and aloft-up-dragging class of higher men, who had first to teach their century–and it is the century of the MASSES–the conception “higher man.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hence we can understand without further detail why love AS A PASSION–it is our European specialty–must absolutely be of noble origin; as is well known, its invention is due to the Provencal poet-cavaliers, those brilliant, ingenious men of the “gai saber,” to whom Europe owes so much, and almost owes itself.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Those great poets, for example, such as Byron, Musset, Poe, Leopardi, Kleist, Gogol (I do not venture to mention much greater names, but I have them in my mind), as they now appear, and were perhaps obliged to be: men of the moment, enthusiastic, sensuous, and childish, light-minded and impulsive in their trust and distrust; with souls in which usually some flaw has to be concealed; often taking revenge with their works for an internal defilement, often seeking forgetfulness in their soaring from a too true memory, often lost in the mud and almost in love with it, until they become like the Will-o’-the-Wisps around the swamps, and PRETEND TO BE stars–the people then call them idealists,–often struggling with protracted disgust, with an ever-reappearing phantom of disbelief, which makes them cold, and obliges them to languish for GLORIA and devour “faith as it is” out of the hands of intoxicated adulators:–what a TORMENT these great artists are and the so-called higher men in general, to him who has once found them out!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

translated by L A Magnus

by F W Nietzsche

From the Heights


Midday of Life! Oh, season of delight!
                                My summer’s park!
Uneaseful joy to look, to lurk, to hark–
I peer for friends, am ready day and night,–
Where linger ye, my friends? The time is right!


Is not the glacier’s grey today for you
The brooklet seeks you, wind, cloud, with longing thread
And thrust themselves yet higher to the blue,
To spy for you from farthest eagle’s view.


My table was spread out for you on high–
                                Who dwelleth so
Star-near, so near the grisly pit below?–
My realm–what realm hath wider boundary?
My honey–who hath sipped its fragrancy?


Friends, ye are there! Woe me,–yet I am not
                                He whom ye seek?
Ye stare and stop–better your wrath could speak!
I am not I? Hand, gait, face, changed? And what
I am, to you my friends, now am I not?


Am I an other? Strange am I to Me?
                                Yet from Me sprung?
A wrestler, by himself too oft self-wrung?
Hindering too oft my own self’s potency,
Wounded and hampered by self-victory?


I sought where-so the wind blows keenest. There
                                I learned to dwell
Where no man dwells, on lonesome ice-lorn fell,
And unlearned Man and God and curse and prayer?
Became a ghost haunting the glaciers bare?


Ye, my old friends! Look! Ye turn pale, filled o’er
                                With love and fear!
Go! Yet not in wrath. Ye could ne’er live here.
Here in the farthest realm of ice and scaur,
A huntsman must one be, like chamois soar.


An evil huntsman was I? See how taut
                                My bow was bent!
Strongest was he by whom such bolt were sent–
Woe now! That arrow is with peril fraught,
Perilous as none.–Have yon safe home ye sought!


Ye go! Thou didst endure enough, oh, heart;–
                                Strong was thy hope;
Unto new friends thy portals widely ope,
Let old ones be. Bid memory depart!
Wast thou young then, now–better young thou art!


What linked us once together, one hope’s tie–
                                (Who now doth con
Those lines, now fading, Love once wrote thereon?)–
Is like a parchment, which the hand is shy
To touch–like crackling leaves, all seared, all dry.


Oh! Friends no more! They are–what name for those?–
                                Friends’ phantom-flight
Knocking at my heart’s window-pane at night,
Gazing on me, that speaks “We were” and goes,–
Oh, withered words, once fragrant as the rose!


Pinings of youth that might not understand!
                                For which I pined,
Which I deemed changed with me, kin of my kind:
But they grew old, and thus were doomed and banned:
None but new kith are native of my land!


Midday of life! My second youth’s delight!
                                My summer’s park!
Unrestful joy to long, to lurk, to hark!
I peer for friends!–am ready day and night,
For my new friends. Come! Come! The time is right!


This song is done,–the sweet sad cry of rue
                                Sang out its end;
A wizard wrought it, he the timely friend,
The midday-friend,–no, do not ask me who;
At midday ’twas, when one became as two.


We keep our Feast of Feasts, sure of our bourne,
                                Our aims self-same:
The Guest of Guests, friend Zarathustra, came!
The world now laughs, the grisly veil was torn,
And Light and Dark were one that wedding-morn.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What follows are two full sections (the 39th section called “Poets” and the 74th called “The Song of Melancholy”) from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, translated by Thomas Common into English.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

XXXIX. Poets.

“Since I have known the body better”–said Zarathustra to one of his disciples–“the spirit hath only been to me symbolically spirit; and all the ‘imperishable’–that is also but a simile.”

“So have I heard thee say once before,” answered the disciple, “and then thou addedst: ‘But the poets lie too much.’ Why didst thou say that the poets lie too much?”

“Why?” said Zarathustra. “Thou askest why? I do not belong to those who may be asked after their Why.

Is my experience but of yesterday? It is long ago that I experienced the reasons for mine opinions.

Should I not have to be a cask of memory, if I also wanted to have my reasons with me?

It is already too much for me even to retain mine opinions; and many a bird flieth away.

And sometimes, also, do I find a fugitive creature in my dovecote, which is alien to me, and trembleth when I lay my hand upon it.

But what did Zarathustra once say unto thee? That the poets lie too much?–But Zarathustra also is a poet.

Believest thou that he there spake the truth? Why dost thou believe it?”

The disciple answered: “I believe in Zarathustra.” But Zarathustra shook his head and smiled.–

Belief doth not sanctify me, said he, least of all the belief in myself.

But granting that some one did say in all seriousness that the poets lie too much: he was right–WE do lie too much.

We also know too little, and are bad learners: so we are obliged to lie.

And which of us poets hath not adulterated his wine? Many a poisonous hotchpotch hath evolved in our cellars: many an indescribable thing hath there been done.

And because we know little, therefore are we pleased from the heart with the poor in spirit, especially when they are young women!

And even of those things are we desirous, which old women tell one another in the evening. This do we call the eternally feminine in us.

And as if there were a special secret access to knowledge, which CHOKETH UP for those who learn anything, so do we believe in the people and in their “wisdom.”

This, however, do all poets believe: that whoever pricketh up his ears when lying in the grass or on lonely slopes, learneth something of the things that are betwixt heaven and earth.

And if there come unto them tender emotions, then do the poets always think that nature herself is in love with them:

And that she stealeth to their ear to whisper secrets into it, and amorous flatteries: of this do they plume and pride themselves, before all mortals!

Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of which only the poets have dreamed!

And especially ABOVE the heavens: for all Gods are poet-symbolisations, poet-sophistications!

Verily, ever are we drawn aloft–that is, to the realm of the clouds: on these do we set our gaudy puppets, and then call them Gods and Supermen:–

Are not they light enough for those chairs!–all these Gods and Supermen?–

Ah, how I am weary of all the inadequate that is insisted on as actual! Ah, how I am weary of the poets!

When Zarathustra so spake, his disciple resented it, but was silent. And Zarathustra also was silent; and his eye directed itself inwardly, as if it gazed into the far distance. At last he sighed and drew breath.–

I am of to-day and heretofore, said he thereupon; but something is in me that is of the morrow, and the day following, and the hereafter.

I became weary of the poets, of the old and of the new: superficial are they all unto me, and shallow seas.

They did not think sufficiently into the depth; therefore their feeling did not reach to the bottom.

Some sensation of voluptuousness and some sensation of tedium: these have as yet been their best contemplation.

Ghost-breathing and ghost-whisking, seemeth to me all the jingle-jangling of their harps; what have they known hitherto of the fervour of tones!–

They are also not pure enough for me: they all muddle their water that it may seem deep.

And fain would they thereby prove themselves reconcilers: but mediaries and mixers are they unto me, and half-and-half, and impure!–

Ah, I cast indeed my net into their sea, and meant to catch good fish; but always did I draw up the head of some ancient God.

Thus did the sea give a stone to the hungry one. And they themselves may well originate from the sea.

Certainly, one findeth pearls in them: thereby they are the more like hard molluscs. And instead of a soul, I have often found in them salt slime.

They have learned from the sea also its vanity: is not the sea the peacock of peacocks?

Even before the ugliest of all buffaloes doth it spread out its tail; never doth it tire of its lace-fan of silver and silk.

Disdainfully doth the buffalo glance thereat, nigh to the sand with its soul, nigher still to the thicket, nighest, however, to the swamp.

What is beauty and sea and peacock-splendour to it! This parable I speak unto the poets.

Verily, their spirit itself is the peacock of peacocks, and a sea of vanity!

Spectators, seeketh the spirit of the poet–should they even be buffaloes!–

But of this spirit became I weary; and I see the time coming when it will become weary of itself.

Yea, changed have I seen the poets, and their glance turned towards themselves.

Penitents of the spirit have I seen appearing; they grew out of the poets.–

Thus spake Zarathustra.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

LXXIV. The Song of Melancholy.


When Zarathustra spake these sayings, he stood nigh to the entrance of his cave; with the last words, however, he slipped away from his guests, and fled for a little while into the open air.

“O pure odours around me,” cried he, “O blessed stillness around me! But where are mine animals? Hither, hither, mine eagle and my serpent!

Tell me, mine animals: these higher men, all of them–do they perhaps not SMELL well? O pure odours around me! Now only do I know and feel how I love you, mine animals.”

–And Zarathustra said once more: “I love you, mine animals!” The eagle, however, and the serpent pressed close to him when he spake these words, and looked up to him. In this attitude were they all three silent together, and sniffed and sipped the good air with one another. For the air here outside was better than with the higher men.


Hardly, however, had Zarathustra left the cave when the old magician got up, looked cunningly about him, and said: “He is gone!

And already, ye higher men–let me tickle you with this complimentary and flattering name, as he himself doeth–already doth mine evil spirit of deceit and magic attack me, my melancholy devil,

–Which is an adversary to this Zarathustra from the very heart: forgive it for this! Now doth it wish to conjure before you, it hath just ITS hour; in vain do I struggle with this evil spirit.

Unto all of you, whatever honours ye like to assume in your names, whether ye call yourselves ‘the free spirits’ or ‘the conscientious,’ or ‘the penitents of the spirit,’ or ‘the unfettered,’ or ‘the great longers,’–

–Unto all of you, who like me suffer FROM THE GREAT LOATHING, to whom the old God hath died, and as yet no new God lieth in cradles and swaddling clothes–unto all of you is mine evil spirit and magic-devil favourable.

I know you, ye higher men, I know him,–I know also this fiend whom I love in spite of me, this Zarathustra: he himself often seemeth to me like the beautiful mask of a saint,

–Like a new strange mummery in which mine evil spirit, the melancholy devil, delighteth:–I love Zarathustra, so doth it often seem to me, for the sake of mine evil spirit.–

But already doth IT attack me and constrain me, this spirit of melancholy, this evening-twilight devil: and verily, ye higher men, it hath a longing–

–Open your eyes!–it hath a longing to come NAKED, whether male or female, I do not yet know: but it cometh, it constraineth me, alas! open your wits!

The day dieth out, unto all things cometh now the evening, also unto the best things; hear now, and see, ye higher men, what devil–man or woman–this spirit of evening-melancholy is!”

Thus spake the old magician, looked cunningly about him, and then seized his harp.


In evening’s limpid air,
What time the dew’s soothings
Unto the earth downpour,
Invisibly and unheard–
For tender shoe-gear wear
The soothing dews, like all that’s kind-gentle–:
Bethinkst thou then, bethinkst thou, burning heart,
How once thou thirstedest
For heaven’s kindly teardrops and dew’s down-droppings,
All singed and weary thirstedest,
What time on yellow grass-pathways
Wicked, occidental sunny glances
Through sombre trees about thee sported,
Blindingly sunny glow-glances, gladly-hurting?

“Of TRUTH the wooer? Thou?”–so taunted they-
“Nay! Merely poet!
A brute insidious, plundering, grovelling,
That aye must lie,
That wittingly, wilfully, aye must lie:
For booty lusting,
Motley masked,
Self-hidden, shrouded,
Himself his booty-
HE–of truth the wooer?
Nay! Mere fool! Mere poet!
Just motley speaking,
From mask of fool confusedly shouting,
Circumambling on fabricated word-bridges,
On motley rainbow-arches,
‘Twixt the spurious heavenly,
And spurious earthly,
Round us roving, round us soaring,–

HE–of truth the wooer?
Not still, stiff, smooth and cold,
Become an image,
A godlike statue,
Set up in front of temples,
As a God’s own door-guard:
Nay! hostile to all such truthfulness-statues,
In every desert homelier than at temples,
With cattish wantonness,
Through every window leaping
Quickly into chances,
Every wild forest a-sniffing,
Greedily-longingly, sniffing,
That thou, in wild forests,
‘Mong the motley-speckled fierce creatures,
Shouldest rove, sinful-sound and fine-coloured,
With longing lips smacking,
Blessedly mocking, blessedly hellish, blessedly bloodthirsty,
Robbing, skulking, lying–roving:–

Or unto eagles like which fixedly,
Long adown the precipice look,
Adown THEIR precipice:–
Oh, how they whirl down now,
Thereunder, therein,
To ever deeper profoundness whirling!–
With aim aright,
With quivering flight,
On LAMBKINS pouncing,
Headlong down, sore-hungry,
For lambkins longing,
Fierce ‘gainst all lamb-spirits,
Furious-fierce all that look
Sheeplike, or lambeyed, or crisp-woolly,
–Grey, with lambsheep kindliness!

Even thus,
Eaglelike, pantherlike,
Are the poet’s desires,
Are THINE OWN desires ‘neath a thousand guises,
Thou fool! Thou poet!
Thou who all mankind viewedst–
So God, as sheep–:
The God TO REND within mankind,
As the sheep in mankind,
And in rending LAUGHING–

THAT, THAT is thine own blessedness!
Of a panther and eagle–blessedness!
Of a poet and fool–the blessedness!–

In evening’s limpid air,
What time the moon’s sickle,
Green, ‘twixt the purple-glowings,
And jealous, steal’th forth:
–Of day the foe,
With every step in secret,
The rosy garland-hammocks
Downsickling, till they’ve sunken
Down nightwards, faded, downsunken:–

Thus had I sunken one day
From mine own truth-insanity,
From mine own fervid day-longings,
Of day aweary, sick of sunshine,
–Sunk downwards, evenwards, shadowwards:
By one sole trueness
All scorched and thirsty:
–Bethinkst thou still, bethinkst thou, burning heart,
How then thou thirstedest?-

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