ravenous reader Posted November 2, 2017 Share Posted November 2, 2017 Hi everyone and welcome to our V2 POEMS thread! Thank you to all for making our first POETRY thread such a great success -- what a stimulating discussion we've had! @Pain killer Jane, @LmL, @Blue Tiger, @Wizz-The-Smith, @Cridefea, @Unchained, @Durran Durrandon, @hiemal, @YOVMO, @Walda, @Isobel Harper, @Tijgy, @Meera of Tarth, @LynnS, @Bironic, @Seams, @King Merrett I Frey, @Frey family reunion, @The Fattest Leech, @Lykos, @dannicus, @Feather Crystal, @Cowboy Dan, @SummerSphinx, @Jon's Queen Consort, @aDanceWithFlagons, @Good Guy Garlan , @cgrav, @LiveFirstDieLater, @Dorian Martell's son, @Lady of Harmony, @Quoth the raven, @Weirwood Ghost, @Blackwater Revenant, @Voice, and last-but-not-least @40 Thousand Skeletons -- With all your thoughtful contributions, you've enriched our appreciation of the text, and my life on a personal note, more than you could know. Although I'm a bit sad that the thread has been locked (probably due to its length with over 400 posts and more than 20 pages...), I'm also pleased by and proud of its resounding popularity, ultimately having attracted more than 15000 views, which attests to poetry's enduring resonance; hence, its ability to answer the call of the 'human heart in conflict with itself,' if not solve all of GRRM's mysteries! I originally was moved to start such a thread in response to a tacit challenge issued by my dear friend the dragon (aka @LmL), with whom I've memorably hashed though the symbolic undergrowth and taken many celestial flights, one day questioning poetry's relevance to the enterprise before us of attempting to decipher GRRM's meaning, or at least achieve a deeper understanding of the text. As I recall, he had dismissed Shakespeare -- which is ironic, given that GRRM right at the beginning of the journey places a nod to William Shakespeare via 'Will,' as the main protagonist and 'naughty greenseer' archetype from whose point of view we experience the GOT Prologue. At the time, I found LmL's curious 'resistance to poetry' amusing (irony always amuses me), given that I've encountered few frequenting these parts so evidently demonstrating as much poetic flair in their writing as he! Yes, the poetic can be found in the most surprising of places, and people (even those who protest against it...); and, as such, possesses the power to pierce through our preconceptions and prejudices, enabling us to see in a new light, to catch a glimpse, however briefly, of the elusive truth of both the other and our very self. Another whom I've found to be refreshingly poetic (or perhaps he's just adept at operating 'the Google' to rapidly locate fitting poetic ripostes to all my clever offerings...) is @Dorian Martell's son. He has introduced me to several thought-provoking poems I had never hitherto encountered. In our recent interchange -- you could call it a 'love-hate affair' -- Dorian wittily argued with both me and John Donne (the latter one of the most renowned poets of all time specifically for the elegant construction of his witty metaphysical arguments), sparked by my unwelcome attempt to compliment Dorian on his wit ('nope', you can't win with that one...)! This is a sample of our (poetry) duel: Quote On 10/29/2017 at 7:34 PM, ravenous reader said: P.S. There is not a soul on the forum(s) who can match your wit. That must be lonely... Quote On 10/29/2017 at 7:56 PM, Dorian Martell's son said: what are you talking about? my wit is miniscule compared to some here Quote On 10/29/2017 at 8:09 PM, ravenous reader said: THE PROHIBITION. by John Donne TAKE heed of loving me ; At least remember, I forbade it thee ; Not that I shall repair my unthrifty waste Of breath and blood, upon thy sighs and tears, By being to thee then what to me thou wast ; But so great joy our life at once outwears. Then, lest thy love by my death frustrate be, If thou love me, take heed of loving me. Take heed of hating me, Or too much triumph in the victory ; Not that I shall be mine own officer, And hate with hate again retaliate ; But thou wilt lose the style of conqueror, If I, thy conquest, perish by thy hate. Then, lest my being nothing lessen thee, If thou hate me, take heed of hating me. Yet love and hate me too ; So these extremes shall ne'er their office do ; Love me, that I may die the gentler way ; Hate me, because thy love's too great for me ; Or let these two, themselves, not me, decay ; So shall I live thy stage, not triumph be. Lest thou thy love and hate, and me undo, O let me live, yet love and hate me too. To which Dorian deftly countered with: Quote It lies not in our power to love or hate, For will in us is overruled by fate. When two are stripped, long ere the course begin, We wish that one should love, the other win; And one especially do we affect Of two gold ingots, like in each respect: The reason no man knows; let it suffice What we behold is censured by our eyes. Where both deliberate, the love is slight: Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight? CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (As a little bit of trivia, it's funny that Kit Harington was named by his parents for Christoper -- nicknamed 'Kit' -- Marlowe and recently performed in Marlowe's play 'Dr Faustus'!) Anyway, with all this talk of 'love and hate,' we'd better invite both Shakespeare and GRRM to also have their say on the topic (note the playful oxymorons): Here’s much to do with hate but more with love. Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything of nothing first created! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this. Dost thou not laugh? -- Romeo, from Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 1 A Storm of Swords - Bran II "Because they're different," he insisted. "Like night and day, or ice and fire." "If ice can burn," said Jojen in his solemn voice, "then love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one." "One," his sister agreed, "but over wrinkled." This may actually be my favourite ASOIAF quote -- I think 'one-but-over-wrinkled' perfectly describes the style/construction (described as a 'fractal' concept by @LmL) of GRRM's writing, as well as the philosophy behind it! For those of you unfamiliar with the first poetry thread, you might like reading my original introduction to that, which I've replicated here as follows, in order to get an idea of what it's about: Spoiler As some of you may have noticed, I like poetry and will sometimes quote a poem in the middle of a post -- which might seem bizarre to you at times. Nevertheless, "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. Who knows?" (AGOT-Jon II); so it's neither unusual nor outlandish for some of GRRM's themes to have been reflected in other literary works, including poems. Moreover, GRRM is an extremely well-read and allusive author, who enjoys giving a reverent, sometimes cheeky nod to other authors who have shaped his vision, borrowing from them in spirit, and sometimes even going so far as quoting snippets from them verbatim, so it's fun to pick up on those literary references. I invite you to join me in sharing poems (or other quotes from the literary canon and/or popular culture, e.g. quoting lyrics from songs, etc.-- the original meaning of 'song' was 'poem') that remind you of ASOIAF for some reason, whatever reason-- your creativity is welcome, so don't worry about 'derailing' this thread! This is one thread I predict can not be derailed, since as I said, 'many roads lead to the same castle,' so I predict we'll be circling back on ourselves arriving back where we started, many times over, circling in on the elusive heart of the castle. You may quote your poem without leaving an explanation; or if you prefer you may leave a brief (or lengthy...) accompanying comment, explaining the rationale behind why you associate that particular excerpt with ASOIAF, which I'd always be most interested in reading. As I mentioned above, the original meaning of 'song' is poetry, since bearing historical witness in the oral tradition (before written records were widely available) was easier for the bard to remember in rhyme. First and foremost, 'The Song of Ice and Fire' is a 'song' -- a kind of poetic utterance -- and importantly though GRRM is the one 'singing' it, it's not a piece for one. It's not a solo; it's a dialogue for many voices. This may surprise you, but it's dawned on me that the most important word in the title is neither 'song' nor 'ice' nor 'fire,' as is commonly presumed -- it's 'AND.' This is something we can only do together. Paradoxically, even when we're out of tune, off-time, brazenly dissonant, or singing our own song, we're part of and -- for better or for worse -- can never exit this song, not even when we die. The etymology of 'poetry' also reveals something interesting about our enterprise in this respect: Quote Poiesis. Poïesis (Ancient Greek: ποίησις) is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means "to make". This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Poetry is not merely an artifact; it's the way we tell our stories -- and thereby make ourselves and our world. Have fun. Remain good-humored and open-minded to each other's contributions. And remember -- we all proceed from one another's thoughts as well as preceding others to come --so in the end no one really has exclusive ownership of any given thought, and that should give us pause to always be respectful of one another, which is a way of paying respect to ourselves and the long tradition out of which we emerge and has brought us here where we find ourselves now. [P.S. In hindsight, it turns out that I was right about the castle, as I predicted... ] So -- WHAT IS POETRY? -- As I've mentioned, poetry takes many surprising forms and expressions and resists neat pigeonholing. Here are three definitions of poetry which I enjoy pondering, as offered by three well-known poets -- the first in particular dedicated to those of you who profess to 'dislike it' (poetry and/or my thread/s... ), in which Moore famously described poetry as the seemingly contradictory 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them...' (which is kind of apt, considering GRRM claims to be a 'gardener'...): Poetry I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in it after all, a place for the genuine. Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise if it must, these things are important not because a high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the same thing may be said for all of us—that we do not admire what we cannot understand. The bat, holding on upside down or in quest of something to eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base- ball fan, the statistician—case after case could be cited did one wish it; nor is it valid to discriminate against “business documents and school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance of their opinion— the raw material of poetry in all its rawness, and that which is on the other hand, genuine, then you are interested in poetry. MARIANNE MOORE "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?” EMILY DICKINSON "Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." CARL SANDBURG Quote A Game of Thrones - Arya II "Just so. Now we will begin the dance. Remember, child, this is not the iron dance of Westeros we are learning, the knight's dance, hacking and hammering, no. This is the bravo's dance, the water dance... Quote A Game of Thrones - Prologue The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor. Ser Waymar met him bravely. "Dance with me then." Allow me to let you in on a secret hiding in plain sight -- Ice is Water! -- therefore their magics must be related, as reflected in the symmetry of GRRM's word choices, so dancing with a sword of ice 'alive with moonlight' decked in icy armor likened earlier in the Prologue to 'moonlight running on water' is doing the 'water dance'. It's the 'dance' of the greenseers, and it's poetry in motion (it's also related to 'the killing word,' but I won't bore you with that today...): Quote A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion V "The conquerors did not believe either, Hugor Hill," said Ysilla. "The men of Volantis and Valyria hung Garin in a golden cage and made mock as he called upon his Mother to destroy them. But in the night the waters rose and drowned them, and from that day to this they have not rested. They are down there still beneath the water, they who were once the lords of fire. Their cold breath rises from the murk to make these fogs, and their flesh has turned as stony as their hearts." The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships The largest army that Essos had ever seen soon assembled at Chroyane, under the command of Prince Garin. According to Beldecar, it was a quarter of a million strong. From the headwaters of the Rhoyne down to her many mouths, every man of fighting age took up sword and shield and made his way to the festival city to join this great campaign. So long as the army remained beside Mother Rhoyne, the prince declared, they need not fear the dragons of Valyria; their own water wizards would protect them against the fires of the Freehold. I bet you the so-called 'water wizards' or 'greensea-ers,' as I like to call them, are also responsible for calling forth the Others! (P.S. Note the allusion to Amergin's Invocation) Here's a further clue that 'water-wizardry' is none other than 'greenseeing,' and moreover that the Others emerge from the weirwood net. Note that in this passage Osha functions symbolically as a Night's Queen / Other stand-in -- that's why GRRM has Summer sniff her suspiciously, because that's what direwolves do (they can 'smell the cold') to check if someone emerging from the underworld realm is (un)dead!: Quote A Clash of Kings - Bran II Hodor knew Bran's favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled. And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash, so sudden that even Summer leapt back, snarling. Hodor jumped away, wailing "Hodor, Hodor" in dismay until Bran patted his shoulder to soothe his fears. "How can you swim in there?" he asked Osha. "Isn't it cold?" "As a babe I suckled on icicles, boy. I like the cold." Osha swam to the rocks and rose dripping. She was naked, her skin bumpy with gooseprickles. Summer crept close and sniffed at her. "I wanted to touch the bottom." Quote A Clash of Kings - Jon IV The direwolf circled the fire, sniffing Jon, sniffing the wind, never still. It did not seem as if he were after meat right now. When the dead came walking, Ghost knew. He woke me, warned me. Alarmed, he got to his feet. "Is something out there? Ghost, do you have a scent?" Dywen said he smelled cold. The idea of 'smelling cold' is an example of the literary device (and psychiatric phenomenon) of 'synesthesia' which, as suggested below, GRRM might be using to suggest a visionary / magically altered state of mind: Quote Synesthesia In description, a blending or intermingling of different sense modalities. While synesthesia appears in ancient literatures, including both the Iliad and Odyssey, it became especially popular in the 19th century through the work of poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud and the symbolist movement. Examples of synesthesia include Baudelaire’s “The Ragpickers’ Wine,” where he writes of “the dazzling, deafening debauch / of bugles.” In her heavily synesthetic poem “Aubade,” Dame Edith Sitwell describes the “dull blunt wooden stalactite / Of rain creaks, hardened by the light.” In George Meredith’s “Modern Love: I,” a woman’s heart is made to “drink the pale drug of silence.” Synesthetic effects include textual amplification, complication, and richness. Some poets, notably Percy Bysshe Shelley, have used synesthesia to suggest visionary states. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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