Cartoon (a poem)

Intent on being intense, she’s a ferally attractive
Leopardess from nights of yore;
Tail a-swaying, captive geese a-laying,
Crystal bowls refractive of my lust for lore.
We have goldfish to fry, mullet to misidentify
As Liffey salmon, strings to strum and cords to sever
(Those things can wait for now … and possibly for ever.)

If she’s a magnet I’m an iron filing;
Nail bitings piling on my new collection,
That singular erection on the musty floor
Which has not felt a vacuum
(She put three syllables in that)
Since the second coming, or the one before.

We stay awake together, on and off,
The pallet cleft to splinters by our passion
A cage of slyly angled thorns.
Mine the instigation, hers the orchestration,
Instrumentation, after a fashion
By the tenant of the room below
Whom she compares to a vampire bat sated
On the blood of photogenic deer
(Though I smell only sex in here).

Her laugh could be simply the ghost of a scar
(A scar being the ghost of a wound
To entrance, second-hand, a doubting finger)
While I smile, refreshed for a while, at the bar;
And we linger, nibbling peanuts and metaphors.
She says that I follow her heart
But she follows the moon;
She says that I compartmentalize
Whenever I tidy the room.

Come apart, mental eyes:
She’s seen you try to let things pass
Too fast, too deep, too wide, too soon
For a snowball’s chance to rise or raise
Something other than a glass
In homage to the full cartoon.



Filed under Poems

68 responses to “Cartoon (a poem)

  1. Another good one MrO. I especially like the beginning of the third verse.

  2. Thank you, Isobel. 🙂

    I never put this one on MyT, unlike most of the poems I’ve written. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Glad you like it.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Cymbeline. As I said, I’m not too sure about this one … glad you like it.

    I went to the launch of a new arts and literary magazine last night, in a pub in Cavan town. Some poets read their work, including a couple of well-known writers such as Dermot Healy. The magazine contains work by the likes of Pat McCabe and Shane Connaughton.

    I’m going to submit some poems for the next issue … ones that you have liked (not this poem).

  4. Again, Cymbeline … thank you very much indeed.

    I’ve just been out at an open day at a local cheesemongers/vintners, in an old railway station in the middle of nowhere. It was more like a small food festival, with dozens of stalls manned by artisan producers of cheeses, meats, bread, etc. Thousands of people must have passed through in the course of the day. I’d say you would have liked it.

    I think Ireland’s food culture … way behind that of places like France … is developing well. Along with events like last night’s launch, this open day shows encouraging defiance of the economic crisis, in what is historically one of Ireland’s least developed regions.

  5. There was a great selection of olives there today … I sampled quite a few, but we didn’t buy any this time. We bought bread, a couple of farmhouse cheeses, rashers, sausages, black pudding and various pickles and chutneys.

  6. madeoforléans

    Well I go by sully chateau regularly. i have a customer just next door. I’ve walked in the grounds often, didn’ know it was owned by an Irish family.
    Just now we are buying most of our produce from a Portuguese guy who runs a traditional little shop. He has the most wonderful quite cheap vegetables meat cheese, but you are never quite sure what he will have in stock. He has local produce and Iberian produce. It is like living back in the 50’s gain, the supermaket is just for toilet paper and kleenexe.

  7. ‘Just reading. Great relief that it was not about a bloody cat after all.’

    Slightly OTT I think.
    There is a terrific poem by DH Lawrence, one of his best I believe, about a Mountain Lion. I’ll stick it on my page if I find it.
    Don’t go there Cymbers – it’s v cat-orientated.
    You Have Been Warned.
    (nearly a typo there – would have read – you have been warmed; something else entirely…)

  8. Thanks, Isobel … will have a look. 🙂

    Speaking of nocturnal hunters, my wife and I saw a young long-eared owl while out walking tonight … the first owl I’ve ever seen in Ireland.

    • Now I am jealous.
      I hear owls when I am on the boat, but I only ever see them when it’s too dark to make out the detail.
      if the kingfishers are about this week i shall write all about them.
      Did you see the terrific poem Bilby left a link to on my page? The Mountain Lion post.

      • Will look now, Isobel. The owl was calling to another owl some distance away.

        When we got home my wife rang the farmer to tell him he had an owl. At that moment, the owl landed on a fence post just outside his window.

  9. claire2

    Brendano; beautiful, beautiful poem.
    Don’t crucify me for that, Cymbers!
    Hi Isobel. And Cat

  10. Hi Claire .. nice to see you. 🙂 I noticed you had deleted your blog (and your avatar isn’t showing here). You must be very busy with school work these days.

    Thanks a lot … I’m glad you like the poem.

  11. claire2

    Hi Brendano,
    Thanks, good to see you as well.
    Yes I zapped the blog and disappeared again. I had my reasons; the ones you warned me about a while back. But life’s too short to spend it running scared.
    School work has tailed off actually – my A level students left this week. They all said they were going to burn their English linguistics files – cheeky sods! And there I was thinking they were as enthralled by linguistics as me…
    I’ve been popping into your blog quite a bit. I like your poetry, very much, as it happens. I think Cymbeline is right; your strength as a poet lies in the present tense, because your imagery is very vivid.
    Anyway I’ll shut up now. 🙂

  12. Thanks, Claire. I hope we’ll be seeing a bit more of you, then.

  13. Claire understands English too Cymbers. And your idea could be equally well expressed in that tongue.

  14. madeoforléans

    Well i’m not a specialist of poetry but I think what Cymbeline says is rubbish. That poetry is necessarily better in the present tense. Le Chanson de Roland (the song of Roland) which recounts the battle of Roncevaux,where Charlemagne lost a battle in the foothils of the Pyrenees and his boyhood friend Roland was killed, is a founding text of the French language and French history and is written in the past tense.

  15. claire2

    Cymbers: Bonjour…oui, je ne dispute pas ce que tu dis. Mais est-ce que tu parle de Brendano, ou des poetes en general?
    Il me fait vraiment chier cet ordinateur. Faut que j’aille chercher tous les accents sur google. Alors, j’ecris maintenant sans les accents…
    Made; I’m not quite sure whether we’re discussing poets in general or Brendano, here. I think Cymbers is right about modern stuff, in that it sort of captures the essence of a moment, with the force of imagery and the present tense is perhaps the best way to do that.
    INcidentally, I’ve noticed a trend for the present in prose writer as well. Look at Hilary Mantell – her Wolf Hall is so ground breaking no only because it doesn’t do any of the cliches of historical fiction, but also because of the constant use of present tense, minor sentences and non standard grammar. They give it a poetic, immediate feel, and also add to the sense of urgency/immediacy.
    Brendano; oh God. I think I’ve got withdrawal symptoms from linguistics lessons…I need to get out more 😉

  16. claire2

    Made; can you do a link to that poem?
    The other night I was looking at ballade des pendus by Francois VIllon, I think it was. I love gory poetry, especially from the past.
    Link to a translation here. I think it loses a bit in translation, but it would have to lose something of the essence of the original anyway, if it were rendered ‘modern’.

  17. Hi Claire … thanks for that. I agree that the present tense can work well in fiction.

    In the novel I’m currently rewriting, the main narrative is in the past tense but there’s a ‘novel within a novel’ which is in the present.

    What will you do during the summer holidays? I suppose the children will take up a lot of your time.

  18. madeoforléans

    Claire You are the English specialist, I mow lawns. I am also a contrarian so will not be impressed by what is happening in the here and now.
    I would say that if modern litterature is concentrating on the present tense then that maybe an interesting thing to play around with for a while, but language has tenses for a very good resaon which is to improve its expressiveness. Obviously the past with memories of childhood and youth is always going to be a highly emotive mode of communication, and poets will return to it when they tire of immediacy.Long live tenses.

  19. madeoforléans

    Here is a moden translation. The original is I believe 11 the century Franco Normand which is a bit like reading Chaucer.

  20. My poems by Villon is one of the few books i’ve kept from undergrad days. Balade des Pendus is his best, I think.

  21. claire2

    Brendano; I’d love to read your prose. If it’s anything like your poetry…
    Re the summer, I have no idea! I can’t see that far ahead. We usually make our annual trek to France to see family there, so it will probably be that. But yes, the kids do keep me busy! What about you? Ireland must be great in the summer.
    God Richard, that’s some epic poem there! I read the first few stanzas and found the imagery very powerful and evocative; the size/ scale of the work itself is reminiscent of Paradise Lost.
    I’m not a great expert in French poetry. We were sort of forcefed the grand maitres of French lit at uni – Racine, Montesquieu, Hugo, Rousseau. But non of them compared to VOltaire; he is my god, my 18th century pin up, if you like 😉
    As for poetry,I think it’s more primeval, instinctive and comes from a less rational place than prose, which is my excuse for languishing in the poetry of my native tongue…
    Isobel; glad you agree! Do you know much Clement Marot?

  22. Thanks, Claire. At the moment we don’t have much in the way of plans either, beyond a few festivals etc. We shall see what transpires. Ireland is certainly great if the weather is good, which is far from guaranteed.

  23. I like the Villon one a lot, even if it has lost something in translation … which is inevitable, I suppose.

  24. claire2

    CYmbers; keep your hair on luv. It’s a blog, not l’Academie Francaise. CEci dit, j’ai l’impression que ton francais est bien meilleur que le mien…
    Faut que je travaille mon francais, comme je redeviendrai prof de Francais dans pas longtemps…

  25. claire2

    Glad to be of service, Monsieur Brendano! 🙂

  26. Thank you, Madame Claire (makes you sound like a character from Astral Weeks. 🙂

  27. madeoforléans

    ‘le français’ s’écrit avec une lettre minuscule je pense. Mais d’après tout je ne cherche pas à être un prof. Une prof? C’est permis?

  28. Cymbeline, as you don’t have a blog of your own, you are welcome to post blogs here if you wish. You’d be able to delete them when you wanted.

  29. You’re certainly not a parasite, Cymbeline.

    If you do ever feel like posting a blog, just tell me and I’ll give you ‘author status’.

  30. claire2

    That would bring even more people here, putting Cymbers on author status BRendano. I’m serious; your blog, for a personal one, is becoming a bit of a must read, j’ai l’impression.
    You should post here a bit Cymbeline. Your acerbic wit and insights, combined with Brendano’s poems, would make wonderful reading
    C’est vrai que j’aime bien parler en francais – (en minuscule, Monsieur Made, j’espere que tu l’as remarque…) On parle beaucoup de francais a la maison; je suis tres forte en engueulades… 😉

  31. Thanks, Claire. Seeing as you’ve deleted your own blog, you can post here too if you want.

  32. claire2

    You serious, Brendano? God that is really nice of you.
    I’d probably lower the tone with filthy jokes and rows, or draw all the renegade lesbians/Hemmetts out from the WordPress woodwork or something…

  33. Don’t worry, Claire … they are easily got rid of. 🙂

    I’ll give you author status now (I think it’s straightforward), and I’ll do the same for Cymbeline if she can be tempted.

  34. claire2

    That’s very kind Mr BRendano!
    You know me – never post a damn thing but spend all my time bickering on other people’s blogs. In fact, speaking of which, I’ve just taken the off with their heads line in a blog about the monarchy over at DNMT…
    But thanks. You might be the making of me, blog wise!
    Now must go. From poetry blogs todirty nappies. SIgh… 🙂

  35. OK Claire … you now appear under ‘Authors’ to the right of the home page.

    Feel free to post anything you want, but don’t feel you have to post … it’s entirely up to you.

  36. claire2

    Thanks Brendano.
    I feel like I’m riding on your illustrious coat tails, so I will try to come up with a half decent post!
    It might have to be rather more prosaic than your blogs – I’m thinking tales from an ailing, bimbo reporter again… 😉

  37. Reporter tales would be good, Claire, but do anything you want …

    All the ‘illustrious’ stuff is nice of you, but doesn’t apply at all as far as I’m concerned.

  38. There are others who don’t blog much elsewhere at the moment and would be welcome to post here if they wished … as well as Cymbeline, I’m thinking of the likes of Flavia, Rainer and Levent.

    I know that Cymbeline has certain concerns, which of course I understand.

  39. claire2

    That would be good. Illustrious is as illustrious does, Mr!
    What about Jaime? Imagine you two doing poetry on the same page. The thought sends a shiver…

  40. Jaime would of course be very welcome, as would people like Isobel if they wanted. The only reason I didn’t mention them is that they might be fully occupied elsewhere and I don’t want to seem presumptuous..

  41. claire2

    Not presumptuous. It would be good to see them here…

  42. madeoforléans

    I see Sheona is banging on about how bad things are in France. You wonder what sort of quality teaching she gave her pupils with a seeming inabilty to be objective. I doubt she is willing to cash in her lifestyle for Blackpool, even though Antibes does give you a glitzy faux France which I wouldn’t personally choose.
    Christopher has a point many constitutional monarchies do work. But of cause they are far more modest affairs than the autocratic spendthrift Saxe Coburg business. Belgium ‘works’ about as well as France and certainly the King of Belgium doesn’t get up your nostrils like the Buck house crew, but having lived in Bruxelles and Antwerp I would still much prefer a republic.

  43. Morning, Cymbeline and moo … thank you for the comments. I agree with you about monarchy/republic, and often argued about this on MyT. I understand that rational conservatives such as Araminta and squarepeg can be in favour of the monarchy, but a lot of those in favour are far from rational in my opinion, and their views are tied up with all kings of crazy anachronistic notions about England/Britain and its place in the world.

    And now monarchy has met mindless celebrity culture, as Cymbeline points out.

  44. madeoforléans

    I admit I have difficulty in understanding what the ‘rational’ arguments are. It seems to me that a democratic country would intrinsically be in favour of democratic institutions. The only reason to accept the hereditary principle would be for it to be shown to be more successful. Well the people who support the monarchy seem to also spend most of the rest of their time criticising their country.
    They do throw in the tourism argument which is patently false and the isn’t she a lovely lady versus Sarko and Obama argument. Again since the latter are French and American, not British, another poor argument.
    So if they are ‘rational’ then the only conclusion is to scrap more democracy, but I don’t see them defending that argument either.
    Superstition and tradition more than rational arguments seem to dominate their thinking.

  45. The pro-monarchy argument that crops up every time is that the British people, given the chance, would inevitably elect someone that the arguer finds reprehensible … Tony Blair, Richard Branson, or whoever. An argument so riddled with holes that it is hardly necessary to point them out.

  46. madeoforléans

    And the fact that their arguments are so poor may not be without relevance to our exclusion from bearsy’s cave.
    Time for the Brits to preach to the world on free speech?

  47. claire2

    It’s like a breath of fresh air coming here and listening to your erudite snippets – and I mean everyone’s.
    Having said that, to play devil’s advocate, Christopher just made a point about national legacy/character/ the royals being the brand etc etc and I do agree with him on that.
    It is a bit of a cliche, but I do think that republicanism is basically fairer for ordinary people, judging by what I’ve seen in France. But if that meant the whole country going under, as in the civil war, that would obviously be far worse.
    Got to go!

  48. Thank you, moo and Claire.

    Yes, Claire, ‘brand’ is a good description. It is something that has been marketed to people. Marketers will tell you that a brand needs to change and evolve. Not easy when it also depends on staying the same. More contradictions.

  49. madeoforléans

    France had a more wonderous monarchy than the UK ever has had. We still have much from that period, Versaille, le Louvre, Chambord, Chenonceau and far more tourist revenu than any other nation. The political contributions of pepole like Richelieu, Sully, Henri IV, Colbert are an ever present part of our nations fabric. We have the fine furniture of louis XV and Louis XVI in our drawing rooms.
    So any idea that moving on will somehow destroy the good of the past is nonsense.
    As any manager will tell you, you can’t grow responsibilty without giving responsibilty. At some point you have to cut the umbilical cord and treat people as adults. With good preparation people react well to receiving responsibilty and I am sure the British nation can handle managing their own affairs, including the election of a head of state.
    As that Englishman said democracy is a bad system, but is less bad than all the rest.

  50. claire2

    I dunno, Richard. We’ve made a pretty big mess of it these last few years.
    Then again, you could be right. I mean, I think that on the whole French governments have behaved with more integrity than their English counterparts over the years. They have to – the spirit of revolution runs deep and the people just wouldn’t let them away with the sort of shenanigans we’ve had here. And I say that in spite of the obvious bling/nepotistic factor that you get with Latin politics.
    Incidentally, I found a fab poem about mowers. I will put it up later on. Plus ca change – I love riding on the coat tails of fine poets! 🙂

  51. madeoforléans

    Claire My point is that the main reason that the Brits make a mess of things is that they are infantilised. I know nobody follows my logic but it is not completelty without foundation. Look how people like Mitterand, Chirac, de Gaulle became real statesman, because they were truly head of state. It more or less happened with Churchill, though he tended to pass the buck off to Roosevelt, but most British PM’s stay party politicians because they don’t truly have the responsibilty of the state.

  52. Have you noticed that MyT is back, Cymbeline?

  53. Not sure that it’s worth bothering with in its new form, though.

  54. It takes a bit of getting used to … much more complicated and fragmented than of old.

    I started a blog there.

  55. Yes, that’s a nuisance … hard to see who’s been saying what.

  56. Cymbeline, I copied some comments you made when you and Badger were at loggerheads … I think you got him exactly right then.

    I made an effort to bury the hatchet by making numerous friendly comments on a music blog of his recently. That was fine, but within days he was back to making wild and stupid acusations, with no provocation. I think he’s addicted to the emotions of cheap blogsite drama, and I think he’s dishonest, so I have no time for him.

  57. Again, Cymbeline, you’re being unfair to Claire. Claire lives whereof she speaks and she gives a balanced and interesting view, in my opinion. She can see both sides of an argument, she’s clever and she does her best.

    Claire has been very kind to me, as you have. I think of you both as friends. Maybe we could all do without the gratutitous insults.

  58. madeoforléans

    Good morning. I will, try to avoid the bad habits of MyT. Many of the interesting bloggers have been driven away. It is a nasty view into Tory England, with more xenophobia and prejudice than I ever imagined. It seems that many of these people are happy with a broken society and have no intention to make an effort to understand other points of view.

  59. Morning, moo. I remember saying before that MyT’s motto should be ‘Better to curse the darkness than light a candle.’ Yes, there are a lot of odd and bigoted people there, the ‘local’ ranks being augmented by various new right-wing, rabidly pro-Israel American bloggers since the new site opened. Oh well.

    I’ll give it a miss today … I’ll be out all day at a food/garden festival … the kind of thing you might enjoy.

  60. madeoforléans

    Yes the food fair sounds good. I’ll be fixing up some automatic watering and doing a quote for a pergola. Nothing too exciting.

  61. Indeed, Cymbeline. Still, we may as well do our best to enjoy it.

  62. Cymbeline, I don’t think it’s fair that you seem to expect the licence to be as rude and mean as you feel like to anyone on my blog and for me never to say anything about it.

    You have been very kind to me and I think of you as a friend. You were so supportive when nobody else was that I was determined never to make any critical remark to you. But yesterday you said things to Claire that were deliberately intended to be hurtful. There was no other reason for them. I didn’t like that, so I told you so. I see that as reasonable.

    I remember the ‘double-edged sword’ remark … it was over some comments you made to Jamie McNab and others. I regretted saying it afterwards.

    I think you’re a great and unique blogger and a great person. I hope you’ll reconsider. I’ll leave your comments for now in case you do reconsider; if you ask me again to delete them I shall.

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