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Unread 04-02-2001, 05:21 PM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Belmont MA
Posts: 4,790

Parody comes fairly easy to poets, and y'all know that I enjoy the guilty pleasure of it from time to time. It is FAR
harder to do a serious imitation of a great poet. I would like to see if anyone here can do a terrific imitation of T.S. Eliot. Here are your two titles: "Preparing For the Journey" and "Evening Scene In Provence". If you post in less than a week, you probably haven't tried hard enough.
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Unread 04-03-2001, 04:52 PM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,317

...okay, here's a try.

Evening in Provence
(or anywhere else)

I recall only a sullen and lonely childhood
-- long summer evenings in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Any voices from this time are stolen
by my retreating dreams.

Each morning I awake saddened.
If all time is at once, as sages have said,
then did the old man sleeping exist always
to haunt the impatient steps of childhood?

And if all time is at once,
does the boy exist still to break my heart?

[This message has been edited by MacArthur (edited April 03, 2001).]
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Unread 04-11-2001, 08:06 AM
Esther Cameron Esther Cameron is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 240

Dear Michael,

You have indeed set a hard challenge, but given the coincidence of the time of year and one of the themes, I could not resist attempting it.

Appended to my attempt, you will find a very fine poem written to Eliot, and somewhat in his style, by Hyam Plutzik.



A long time we have lived here,
Long enough indeed that we should have seemed
At home here, were it not for the stories
Still tugging at us like a wind from the desert.
The stories kept us strangers;
And of course, there were the others.

They were here when we came, we came to them,
Drawn by some need of theirs, and ours,
Yet without meeting.
The set of their shoulders, their long eyes,
The sidelong smiles they had for one another,
The smoothness of their motions, as if they moved
In time to some dreaming dance we could not learn:
All was of one line, continuous
With the riverbank and the motion of the river;
Whereas our steps moved in ragged directions,
Pulled by the wind from the desert.

I think we seemed to ourselves,
All those years, like people awake
Who walk among dreamers.

Yet ours too was a strange dream, the dream of waking
In a place you know is not home, though knowing no other.
There were those who forgot, building houses
Of sandstone, like theirs, imposing and horizontal,
Taking wives from among them, begetting
Children who merged into the dance of this land,
Looking back at them with the eyes of strangers,
Only betrayed by the occasional misstep
Which their children will know how to avoid.
To watch this happen was like watching someone sinking
Into sleep. But soon there would have been no one left
To regard it so.

And why not, after all?
The stories say we are children of one man
Who left a green land, a land between rivers,
For the desert, for the unreliable hill pastures,
Led by a voice he heard, a voice without face.
We had ceased to understand this,
As we do not understand, now,
Why the face of this land has changed toward us.
One decree, then another, then another,
One burden piled on top of another
Until we groaned aloud,
And there was no appeal.
And then that man, that homicide who fled,
In our midst again, stirring up trouble,
And the plagues that fell on the land, on the others,
Ourselves so unaccountably spared,
And now, the new instructions, from the voice,
We are told, that woke our forefather
In a far land between rivers,
That voice, like a wind from the desert.

All around is haste and confusion.
A baking is being rolled out
That will not have time to rise.
A smoke of sacrifice wafts among our houses
As we sort our possessions, taking what we can carry,
With the ruins of this land around us
And the wailing for their firstborn in our ears.
Well, we go to serve this God in the desert,
This God, our God, mightier than the king of this land,
Whom may we always please.
Through what lands, I wonder, shall we pass,
In what unseeing eyes mirror ourselves,
In what tongues barter without meeting,
Beneath what decrees
Bend? I foresee
It will be a long journey.



You called me a name on such and such a day --
Do you remember? -- you were speaking of Bleistein our brother,
The barbarian with the black cigar, and the pockets
Ringing with cash, and the eyes seeking Jerusalem,
Knowing they have been tricked. Come, brother Thomas,
We three must weep together for our exile.

I see the hunted took, the protestation,
The desperate seeking, the reticence and the brashness
Of the giver of laws to the worshippers of calves.
At times you speak as if the words were walls,
But your walls fell with mine to the torch of a Titus.
Come, let us weep together for our exile.

We two, no doubt, could accommodate ourselves:
We've both read Dante and we both dislike Chicago,
And both, you see, can be brutal -- but you must bown down
To our brother Bleistein here, with the unaesthetic
Cigar and the somber look. Come, do o quickly,
FFor we must weep together for our exile.

O you may enwomb yourself in words or the Word
(the Word is a good refuge for people too proud
To swallow the milke of the mild Jesus' teaching),
Or a garden in Hampshire with a magic bird, or an old
Quotation from the Reverend Andrewes, yet someone or something
(Let us pause to weep together for our exile)

Will stick a needle in your balloon, Thomas.
Is it the shape that you saw oupon the stair?
The four knights clanking toward the altar? the hidden
Card in the deck? the sinister man from Nippon?
The hordes on the eastern horizon, Come, brother Burbank,
And let us weep together for our exile.

In the time of sweet sighing you wept bitterly,
And now in the time of weeping you cannot weep.
Will you wait for the peace of the sailor with pearly bones?
Where is the refuge you thought you would find on the island
Where each man lives in his castle? O brother Thomas,
Come let us weep together for our exile.

You drew us first by your scorn, first by your wit;
Later for your own eloquent suffering.
We loved you first for the wicked things you wrote
Of those you acknowledged infinitely gentle.
Wit is the sin that you must expiate.
Bown down to them, and let us weep for our exile.

I see your words wrung out in pain, but never
The true compassion for creatures with you, that Dante
Knew in his nine hells. O eagle! master!
The eagle's ways of pride and scorn will not save
Though the voice cries loud in humility. Thomas, Thomas,
Come, let us pray together for our exile.

You, hypocrite lecteur! mon semblable! mon frere!

-- Hyam Plutzik

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Unread 04-13-2001, 09:15 AM
ChrisW ChrisW is offline
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,651

I don't know enough Eliot to comment reliably. But I have heard tapes of his readings. I can easily imagine Eliot's dry voice intoning the words of Esther's second verse paragraph. But Esther, why do you not lapse into French or ancient Greek every now and then?
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Unread 04-15-2001, 01:39 PM
Charles Albert Charles Albert is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Obscurity
Posts: 1,150

I don't know how close I can get to TSE but he certainly was an influence for a number of years; I'll always be a fan.

Preparing for the Journey
Dans le Bar de la Gare


-I'm telling you, the world has become a collation of Grim Images.

-Like the flies, you mean, that slowly cross
Those starved black cheeks in parched Ethiopia?

-Or those cruel hungry eyes under the blood drop flag
Of floating whale factories.

-Their faces are one thing; their compromised cultures
are no better: Think of those thin-blooded natives
who leech off white men in Polynesian hotels-
The squalid glut of Southeast Asian prostitution-
The cancers of the fallow Amazon basin-
All from men who live snug on their home isle.

- And our own table hosts them:
Trump Tower's opulence, built by the meat of Harlem,
Lost Vegas, packaged in gaudy godless plastics,
Houston, swilling in the excrement of consumption…


-Our culture succombed at last to Orwellian ends:
The disconnectedness of the cubicle-honda-condo life.

-Indeed, they're rotting on Hesse's feuilleton:
The poseurs of the Internet;
The vapid porography of popular entertainment.

-But what of listener-supported radio?
Shakespeare in the Park?

- Jeffers would say "the final bubbles in the congealing morass."


-We grow dim… a song! Come, Maréchal!

-"O, to frolic once again
In the fields of Elysium.
Reside an earlier Eden,
Live on nature's nectars, sweet, and
See it shine, l'age d'or,, shine!
It shines so from behind!"

All: -"Wasn't Life more fine
When Rockwell captured us in lines?"

-Enough! We have a train to catch. Good bye, Neville!

-Good bye, Wilhelm. Good bye, all!
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Unread 04-25-2001, 12:28 AM
Christopher Mulrooney Christopher Mulrooney is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 356

<font size="1">I can't do better than Tennyson.<font size="2">

After the flitting of the bats,
BANNED POSTBANNED POSTBANNED POSTBANNED POSTWhen thickest dark did trance the sky,
And glanced athwart the glooming flats.

<font size=1>"Mariana", II</size>
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Unread 04-29-2001, 08:54 AM
MarcusBales MarcusBales is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 95

Preparing For the Journey

Having got there by the way you went
Through turning turnings axle-deep in muck,
The blooms of petrol fumes behind you spent
On spinning tyres, and muddy rainbows sent
Unpromisingly up behind the truck;

Having got there by the the way you went,
Fixing brakes broken and tie-rods bent
From tired skill, no hope, and failing luck;

Having got there by the way you went,
Having got there by the way,
Having got there by your own intent,

Dirty, bare beyond unbaring,
Apparitions offer waves
To one another on the screens,
Still acting out yet other scenes
In darkened motion-picture caves,
Not uncaring, not quite caring,

To try to force an opening-out
Of passion packed up past unpacking,
And leave some room for thoughtful life.

But stanzas quick with laughter, wild with wit,
Don’t alter purpose or make up for it:
Our fruits are fatly ripe, their blossoms gone;
Illiterate children see them hanging on,
Pluck them, eat them, and throw away each core
Without a thought for what else fruits are for.

[This message has been edited by MarcusBales (edited May 01, 2001).]
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Unread 05-07-2001, 05:45 AM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Belmont MA
Posts: 4,790

Much admirable work here (harder than it sounds, eh?), but I have to say that Marcus has probably caught the voice longer and more closely than anyone, although there are several brilliant riffs in almost all the other pieces. Fine work, folks!!!
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