Wednesday, 16 March 2011

SOUNDINGS - Poems we did for our Leaving Cert.

I recently acquired & am reading a copy of Soundings, it will either terrorise me or send me on a nostalgic trip back to my school days, English for the Leaving Cert 1988.

See review By Joseph O'Connor in the Sunday Independent

For those who have never heard of Soundings, it was the Leaving Certificate Poetry book from 1969 to approx 1995, if you still don't remember it you are 1 of 3 things;

1. Too Young to have had it.
2. Too old to have had it.
3. You are not Irish or were not educated in the Republic of Ireland.

Turns out after 23 years, all Nostalgia is Rose Tinted & I am really enjoying going through it.

Here are two of my favourites:

The Windhover:  Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ Our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird -- the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

I don't know what Hopkins was on but he was definately sniffing something.

I Felt A Funeral In My Brain:  Emily Dickinson

I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.

And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll

As all the heavens were a bell,
And being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.

And then a plank in reason broke
And I dropped down and down
And hit a world at every plunge--
And finished knowing then.

I have included the last verse, because it exists but I don't ever remember learning it.

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