Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Bill Gifford

Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:44 am

Greetings all,

I've managed to wear out my welcome by continuing hijacks on introductory threads and have now considered another avenue, as an alternative. We have a very diverse cultural community available here, and as a result, a wonderful resource also for the sharing of some cultural themes. Most are interested in cross cultural influences, their anticedants and the polyglot developments that have emerged in latter days. So there's a bit of history to engage here, some traditional national themes, some cultural melding and a place for personal attachments and impressions of course. And what better medium than poetry?

As an overview, I'd like to suggest that intially at least, we try to keep the postings short,
and to that end, perhaps 2-3 stanzas be considered the limit. This should be accompanied by a short synopsis explaining something of the background of the poem (remember to many of the audience, this may be their first foray into the dens of your culture) and why you chose it.... personal things, in preference to "the we had to learn it at school" !response. That's fine, as long as it managed to bite deep into your psyche at the time.

I think a short glossary of terms which maybe culturally obtuse, is also warranted too.

So with no further ado, I'll now move to centre stage, tune-up and go and get my starter kit. Please feel free to follow, use your own format or even submit your own works, what ever form suits you as long as it has some meaning within your cultural situation, and you feel it will be interesting and of some benefit to others.

Welcome all :D :D :D

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Hans W
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Hans W » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:00 am

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
unchanged but for the dedication.

Not quite what you were looking for Bill, but just so so perfect for many members here.

To My Guitar

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Classical Guitar rules!

Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:14 am

Bowyangs Bridge Country of origin Australia - period circ late 1800's

Meslef an' ole Bill Smith this week,
We fell a gum tree 'cross the creek;
An ole man bluegum, straight an' tall,
That shook Gunn's Gully with his fall.
We adzed 'er off all nice an' neat -
A real fine engineerin' feat,
An' fixed, for them as such require,
A hand rail made of fencing wire.

Gunn's Gully's turnin' out today
To see me open 'er . An say -
he is some bridge! An don't forget
She ain't one penny piece in debt.
We tested 'er with Bill Smith's cow,
An' there she looms in beauty now,
Spanin' the creek, a monument
To proud Gunn's Gully's high content.

I 'eard from some bloke - dunno who-
They're openin' one in Sydney too;
Some say a bigger one than this.
Aw well ! Two bridges ain't amiss,
An' if they get as much real joy
As me an' Bill from our new toy -
Good luck to them ! The years will tell
If us an' them have built it well.

C J Dennis.

Glossary :
A 'bluegum' is a common name for a species of eucalypt tree.
an 'adze' is a tool for shaping round timber into square form.
a 'penny' was legal currency at the time, but of low value.
a 'bloke' refers to another man, noone specifically.
live-load testing was done by walking Bill Smith's house cow across!!

By way of a synopsis: this poem expresses the independant, cooperative, do-it yourselves attitude of two early pioneer farm neighbours. These people were well noted for their physical endurance and social spirit, but also for their lack of education and understandings of the ways of the broader world. Dennis was an Australian journalist and playright, who had a fascination for the immigrant languagaes and the resultant colonial slang that emerged, and garnered much of this in his works.
The threads of class divide, ethnic divisions, opportunists and the street gangs all figure substantially in his works and provide a good impression of street life at it was in his era. The other bridge referred to in the poem, is of course the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, built in the late 1930's.


Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:22 am

Nice one Hans, and very appropriate. We'll done.

Can you also find something perhaps that also exemplifies Canada, some of its emerging culture ( even first nation yearnings that may have been captured). Some part of your
personal development that you've engaged over so many years !

Very good start too. Can you get Geo warmed up now please ?

Cheers :P


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Hans W
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Hans W » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:40 am

Bill , yes there is a poem that to me is the best of the best. I memorized it because it speaks to everything we're all about.
Its by Rudyard Kipling and just by even posting it, I want to explain what each line means. When you memorize something and can run it through your mind, you just see so much more then what you read.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Classical Guitar rules!

Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:48 am

Yes Hans, I was wondering how long it would be before Kipling made his presence !

My sentiments are definitely with you on this one, but have you also considered "Giving Your Heart to a Dog" (not you literally, but Kipling's poem... Nogin may like that one too) ? That is equally insightful- just goes to show what a bit of a tough upbringing can do for the muse !

Keep it up :P



Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Gretawog » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:27 pm

Ahh, Bill, of course! C.J.
What about Trianiwontigongalopi (spelled "correctly" I'm not sure)
I'll post the most beautiful, heart-wrenching Lawson verse soon.


Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Cornival » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:30 am

A man's a man, by Robert Burns.
Burns speaks up for the common man. An intrinsic Scottish trait to stick up for the underdog!

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by --
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine --
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might --
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree an' a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that

Hings: hangs
an' a': and all
gowd: gold
hamely: homely
hoddin grey: course grey woollen
Gie: give
e'er sae: ever so
Ye: you
birkie: fellow
ca'd: called
cuif: dolt
ribband: ribboned
mak : make
aboon: above
Guid : good
mauna fa': must not fault
o'er a' : over all
bear the gree : have first place
brithers: brothers


Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby avoz » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:56 pm

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY's 'To Jane: With a Guitar' is worth reading but, alas, too long at 48 lines.

Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:44 am

Some nice ones rolling-in now, so please keep it up ! :bye:

Many thanks for your great contribution too Simulacra66. Burns may well be one of Scotlands proudest gifts, but he also manages to speak directly for the 'little people' and
some animals. Can we have 'Ode to a Mouse' in a good Caledonian brogue too please ? :bye:

Thanks for your suggestion too avoz. As the time and space commitments for epics and ballads here can be daunting, may I suggest perhaps a precis of what this particular poem is about and how it actually touched you, now be considered ? This can be very helpful for others that perhaps know nothing of Percy Bysshe Shelley his extensive poetry, or his life.
Whatever suits you though. Its what you can share that's important here in my view, and I'd hope no self-consciousness gets in the way of that.

Regards to all :D


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Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby brooks » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:12 am

not that this poem has any particular significance for me but i always loved the macabre humour of it. byron's gardener had dug up a well preserved human skull on his estate which the poet converted into a wine goblet on which he inscribed the following lines:

Start not—nor deem my spirit fled:
In me behold the only skull
From which, unlike a living head,
Whatever flows is never dull.

I lived, I loved, I quaffed like thee;
I died: let earth my bones resign:
Fill up—thou canst not injure me;
The worm hath fouler lips than thine.

Better to hold the sparkling grape
Than nurse the earthworm's slimy brood,
And circle in the goblet's shape
The drink of gods than reptile's food.

Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,
In aid of others' let me shine;
And when, alas! our brains are gone,
What nobler substitute than wine?

Quaff while thou canst; another race,
When thou and thine like me are sped,
May rescue thee from earth's embrace,
And rhyme and revel with the dead.

Why not—since through life's little day
Our heads such sad effects produce?
Redeemed from worms and wasting clay,
This chance is theirs to be of use.


Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:30 am

Whatever flows is never dull indeed, Brooks.

Many thanks for such a 'different' albeit slightly macabre Byron. My late father would have appreciated those sentiments too....not so much the cup, but more perhaps the sup ! He always proclaimed that 'thirst can be such a terrible thing !!"

regards :D


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Hans W
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Hans W » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:59 am

Bill Gifford wrote:Whatever flows is never dull indeed, Brooks.

:grire: Bill, was that intentional? As in Brooks, Streams, Rivers...

PS Sorry Brooks, but how could I resist.
Classical Guitar rules!

Bill Gifford

Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Bill Gifford » Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:09 am

No Hans, but you get two blueberries for having a good try ( or should that read cry ?)

Its a fascinating word though, meaning anything from its Middle English root brok
to break from a river (smaller stream)- to brook ; to bear, to endure to tolerate, usually with a negative connotation.......such as; ' young men cannot brook restraint'. :roll:

We use 'creek' here to denote any watercourse which is insufficiently substantial to warrant being named a river. So big creeks, little creeks and just about every form of water channel remains a creek. So we've altered the simile to to read.... 'young men will creek with restraint' !, if that helps with an explaination. Where's Geo these days ? He's not on sabbatical is he ?

How are you going with your next first nation missive ? We've one of those already loaded in our breech. :mrgreen:

Cheers and keep it up.



Re: Songs of the Muse- Poetic Themes.

Postby Gretawog » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:12 am

A North Rothbury boy hey Bill? Amazing. Never thought I'd see the day, although, I do know another classical guitarist from that town. Kevvy, you know him?

I have an idea for this thread. People could provide mp3 recitals of the poem. Or is this going too far?

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