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Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
I can imagine her in Aarhus Kunstmuseum coming across this painting, adjusting her glasses, pursing her lips then breaking out into a big smile. The gallery is almost empty. It is early in the day for visitors, but she is a tourist so allowances are made. Her partner meanwhile is in the Sankt Markus Kirke playing the *****, a 3 manual tracker-action gem built in 1967 by Poul Gerhard Anderson. Sweelink then Bach (the trio sonatas written for his son Johann Christian) are on the menu this morning. In the afternoon she will take herself off to one of the sandy beaches a bus ride away and work on a poem or two. He has arranged to play the grand 83-voice Frobinus ***** in the Cathedral. And so, with a few variations, some illustrious fugues and medley of fine meals in interesting restaurants, their stay in Denmark’s second city will be predictably delightful.
       She is a poet ‘(and a philosopher’, she would say with a grin), a gardener, (old roses and a Jarman-blue shed), a musician, (a recorder player and singer), a mother (four girls and a holy example), but her forte is research. A topic will appear and relentlessly she’d pursue it through visits to favourite libraries in Cambridge and London. In this relentless pursuit she would invariably uncover a web of other topics. These would fill her ‘temporary’ bookcase, her notebooks and her conversation. Then, sometimes, a poem would appear, or not.
          The postcard from Aarhus Kunstmuseum had sat on her table for some weeks until one quiet morning she decided she must ‘research’ this Sosphus Claussen and his colleagues. The poem ‘Imperia’ intrigued her. She knew very little Danish literature. Who did for goodness sake! Hans Christian Anderson she dismissed, but Søren Kierkegaard she had read a little. When a student, her tutor had talked about this author’s use of the pseudonym, a very Socratic device, and one she too had played with as a poet. Claussen’s name was absent from any online lists (Were there really on 60 poets in Danish literature?). Roge appeared, and the painter Willumsen had a whole museum dedicated to his work; this went beyond his El Greco-like canvases into sculpture, graphics, architecture and photography. He looked an interesting character she thought as she browsed his archive. The one thing these three gentlemen held in common was an adherence to the symbolist aesthetic. They were symbolists.
         For her the symbolists were writers, playwrights, artists and composers who in the later years of the 19C wanted to capture absolute truth through indirect methods. They created work in a highly metaphorical and suggestive manner, endowing particular images or objects with symbolic meaning. Her studies in philosophy had brought her to Schopenhauer who considered Art to be ‘a contemplative refuge from the world of strife’. Wasn’t this what the symbolists were all about?
         Her former husband had introduced her to the world of Maurice Maeterlinck through Debussy’s Pelleas and those spare, intense, claustrophobic dramas like Le Malheure Passe. It was interesting how the discovery of the verse of the ancient Chinese had appeared at the time of the symbolist project, and so influenced it. Collections like The Jade Flute that, in speaking of the everyday and the natural world, held with such simplicity rich symbolic messages. Anyway, she didn’t do feelings in her poetry.
           When she phoned the composer who had fathered three of her children he said to her surprise ‘Delius’. He explained: C.F. Keary was the librettist for the two operas Delius composed. Keary wrote a novel called The Journalist (1898) based on Sosphus, a writer who wrote plays ‘heavily laced with symbolism’ and who had also studied art and painted in Paris. Keary knew Claussen, who he described as a poet, novelist, playwright, painter, journalist and eventually a newspaper owner. Claussen was a close friend of Verlaine and very much part of the Bohemian circle in Paris. Claussen and Delius’ circle intersected in the person of Herman Bang, a theatre director who produced Claussen’s Arbedjersken (The Factory Girl). Clauseen wrote an important poem on Bang’s demise, which Delius set to music.
          She was impressed. ‘How is it that you know so much about Delius?’, she asked. He was a modernist, on the experimental edge of contemporary music. ‘Ah’, he replied, ‘I once researched the background to Delius’ Requiem. I read the composer’s Collected Letters (he was a very serious letter writer – sometimes 10 a day), and got stuck into the letters of his Paris years when so many of his friends were Scandinavian émigrés. You once sent me a postcard of a painting by Wilhumsen. It was of Clauseen reading to two of his ‘symbolist’ colleagues. I think you’d picked it up in Denmark. You said, if I recall, that you’d found it ‘irresistible’’.
          And so it was, this painting. Irresistible. She decided that its irresistibility lay in the way the artist had caught the head and body positions of reader and listeners. The arrangement of legs, she thought, says so much about a man. Her husband had always sat with the care embedded in his training as a musician at an instrument. He could slouch like the rest of us, she thought, but when he sat properly, attentive to her words, or listening to their sweet children, he was beautiful. She still loved him, and remembered the many poems she had composed for him, poems he had never seen (she had instructed a daughter to ‘collect’ them for him on her passing). Now, it was he who wrote poetry, for another, for a significant other he had said was his Muse, his soul’s delight, his dearly beloved.
          The wicker chair Sophos Claussen is sitting in, she decided, she would like in her sitting room. It looked the perfect chair for giving a reading. She imagined reading one of her poems from such a chair . . .
If daydreams are wrecks of something divine
I’m amazed by the tediousness of mine.
I’m always the power behind throne.
I rescue princes to make my own.

‘And so it goes’, she thought, quoting that American author she could never remember. So it goes, this strange life, where it seems possible for the mind to enter an apartment in 19C København and call up the smell of brilliantined hair, cigar tobacco, and the samovar in the kitchen. This poem Imperia I shall probably never read, she thought, though there is some American poet on a Fulbright intent on translating Claussen’s work into English. In a flash of the mind’s miracle she travels to his tiny office in his Mid-West university, surrounded by the detritus of student tutorials. In blue jeans and cowboys boots Devon Whittall gazes out of his third storey window at the falling snow.
There is nothing in the world as quiet as snow,
when it gently descends through the air,
muffles your steps
hushes, gently hushes
the voices that speak too loud.
There is nothing in the world of a purity like snow's,
swan's down from the white wings of Heaven,
On your hand a flake
is like dew of tears,
White thoughts quietly tread in dance.
There is nothing in the world that can gentle like snow,
quietly you listen to the silent ringing.
Oh, so fine a sound,
peals of silver bells,
rings within your innermost heart.

And she imagines Helge Rode (his left arm still on his right shoulder) reading his poem Snow in the quiet of the winter afternoon at Ellehammersvej 20 Kastrup Copenhagen. ‘And so it goes,’ she thought, ‘this imagination, flowing on and on. When I am really old like my Grandmother (discharging herself from hospital at 103 because the food was so appalling) will my imagination continue to be as rich and capable as it is today?’
          Closing her notebook and shutting down her laptop, she removed her cat from its cushion on the table, and walked out into her garden, leaving three Danish Symbolists to their readings and deliberations.
Terry Collett Oct 2014
doesn't like
she finds him

why read him?
she asks me

I like him
he gives me
of the world

but why him?
who told you
about him?

some old dame
I once ******
talked of him

might have guessed
Abela said
who was she?

just a friend
I once had
I tell her

she's quiet
sips white wine
looks around
the street scene
around us
sitting in
the café

she's musing
quite deeply
as dame's do
of other
dames I’ve had

was she good?
she asks me

an ex-nun
I reply

an ex-nun?
she echoes

as a girl
not right now
I tell her

she's silent
sips her wine

has its charm

I sip beer
smoke my smoke
read my book
of old man

purred last night
like a cat
after ***
I like that.
Terry Collett Jun 2012
Dubrovnik seemed
a second home,
and you, in a street

cafe, sat drinking coffee,
with that book on
Schopenhauer open

on the table, a cigarette
smoking in an ashtray
unattended, thinking

of the girl in the hotel
restaurant the night
before, the waitress

who smiled at you as
she served and went
by your table, and your

brother said, I don’t
fancy yours much,
indicating with a nod

of head, another
waitress over by a
nearby table, plump

and spotted, wearing
a scowl instead of a
smile, and all the while,

he eyeing, as young
men do the beauty
that had caught your

eye going by, but all is
fair in love, so men
have said, so picking

up the book on
Schopenhauer, and
further reading,

holding the cigarette
between the fingers
of the hand not

turning pages, you
inhaled with deep
concentration the

smoke and words
spread across the
page, written by a

philosopher of a
foreign tongue
and different age.
Terry Collett May 2013
Early morning
book on Schopenhauer
under your arm

in your pocket
you sat in one
of the cafes
in Dubrovnik

having ordered
a coffee
and lit up
to smoke

the book
put on the table
the ashtray
set so

you observed
the passing people
the females mostly
the gentler ***

as is said
the sway of skirt
or dress
the fine legs

the shape of foot
the figures
slim or plump
the mental study

of the shape of ***
the tightness
of ****
and all the while

at the back
of the mind
the idea of God
the faith required

seemingly lacking
the St Augustine view
wanting to be saved
from sin

but not just yet
the waiter
brought coffee
and cake

just the nibble
for the breakfast’s sake
and you thought
on the night before

the walk in the City
the lights lit up
the passing crowds
the concert

some pianist
playing Chopin
you and your brother
side by side

taking it all in
making the most of
and the indulgence
of wine

and the chatting up
of the waitresses
at the hotel
with no success

and you opened
the Schopenhauer book
the print of page
the scatter of words

ideas too deep
for the morning sun
you closed it up
and sipped the coffee

took a drag
on the cigarette
viewed the cute ***
as it passed you by

summer dresses
short skirts
tight tops
in all colours

shoes or bare feet
to please the eye
and the idea of God

listening in
secretly pleading
maybe you do
or do not

to be absolved
from sometime
the deeper sin.
CH Gorrie Apr 2015
On this tan cutting board
You earn your corrupted name:
“Alligator pear.”

The serrated blade
Punctures your hide—a balloon
Under a pin’s pressure,

Shades of green furling out.
I’m sure you’d prefer
Vegetable status if you developed

Self-awareness; or maybe
You’d withdraw from knowledge
Of the human type.

I trust my cooking songs—
Slowdive and Chaka Khan—
Can’t hurt you anymore

Than your predestined obliteration;
Mastication via your domesticators:
It all ends in fertilizer.

(Where you began!)

O, avocado, phantom “fruit”
Born of the self-same Life Source,
Schopenhauer’s Will,

My transient enjoyment of you
Within this vegetable salad—
An Achaean enclosed by Trojan blades—

Suffices for a life of sanctity.
Poem for day 5 of National Poetry Month.
Terry Collett May 2014
Atara loved Dubrovnik
loved the old city walls
the shops and cafés
the churches and narrow streets

she liked sitting
drinking coffee
outside the restaurant

reading her
Schopenhauer book
a cigarette held
between fingers
watching now and then
people passing

Naaman had gone
to see a few sites
he said
rid himself
of his hangover
more like
she mused
by the sea edge
of the previous night
and too much wine
or Slivovitz

she sipped her coffee
even ***
had to be aborted
room swaying
he pronounced
although it was doing
no such thing
least not
in her head
lying in bed
wanting to sleep
not ***

she heard him snoring
some time after
from the bathroom
sprawled on the floor

the Schopenhauer book
was good even if
somewhat pessimistic
with that Eastern perspective
regarding the Will
and negation

she sipped the coffee
once more
but held the mouthful
sampling the flavour
the sense on tongue
the sensation
on the inner skin
of cheeks
warm and wet
and strong
but not bitter

she swallowed
and smiled
better than
the attempted ***
or that achieved
in recent months
and days

she loved Dubrovnik
and Naaman too
but he must
she mused
inhaling smoke
change his ways.
Akemi Jan 2016
There was a dream here. It passed over in the night; a blur that burnt a fever into the earth. It died in the gap between. Fingers unlaced. Hand to the side. The sun runs soft tendrils through thick curtains. Or something like that.

Have you seen the new Star Wars movie? No. You’d like it. It’s the same thing all over again, but with a black guy and a chick as the main characters instead. I guess that’s what you call progress.

There was a dream here. A thick, unfurling mass of potentialities. Sartre once wrote existence precedes essence. Schopenhauer believed the essence of a chair was as much willed into being as the essence of a man. There was choice once, but it died when we chose. The breath you took before your last smoke. The air is stirred by a passing train. A woman steps off a bridge, into the mourning blue of an autumn lake. There is an empty car on fire. There is a man inside. His brother sleeps through his exam, doped up on too much codeine. There is the stench of lack. There is death passing a mirror, seeing herself in haste, but too rushed to make sense of it.

He runs fingers down the scars of her arm. A trickling, stream awakening from a long winter thaw. Vessels blue. Oceans of laughter tucked deep in the folds of her skin, so faint you can barely see them any more.

The sheets are black. The city folds itself. The sky collapses into the gutter; Jupiter bleeds into the apartment block on east side. A man leaves his home, but never reaches his destination.  There is a movie Face Off, where the identity of Nicholas Cage is challenged through the transplantation of his face. If reincarnation were possible, would we even be capable of recognising our reincarnated selves, stumbling through the visage of a billion other, unknown vessels? The skip collectors come at 4am. Metal grinds against metal until all that is left is dust.

Hands shaking a pit of coal. Shake shake. Shake shake. Your mother is dead. Shake shake. Shake shake. Jesus working at a shoe store. Shake shake. Shake shake. An atheist. Hah hah, hah.

The channels fill. Ink drops on water. Fireworks blackening the contours. There is a sun in Peru. Waste water pumps through the vessels of the city. The mayor drinks punch. The catacombs crumble like desert bones. The roads split above. Traffic stalls. Shadows stretch. Meet at the centre. A core. Slender fingers. The infinite. A hollowed heart. A heritage.

Drink your punch, says the mayor, try the grape and cheese.

There is a comic. Five or six woodland friends play grab the tail. After one round, they look over to find friend raccoon sleeping. They laugh and shout next round. Friend scorpion looks at his tail with tears in his eyes. It is funny, because death is boundless, amoral, and imminent.

A group at a party. Someone brings up the right-wing branch of their government. Everyone begins laughing, red in the face, spit flying from their mouths, arms noodling into the sky. Yeah, yeah. Hella. It is an imitation game. A laugh track on repeat. Maybe someone scratched it on purpose, or the sound guy fell asleep on the button. Now everyone is stuck, laughing. They begin to doubt themselves, but look up, reassured by the glowing sign above their heads that displays the text laughter, in bold black Helvetica. The sign is faded from heavy use, a sickly cream that looked bad before it left the factory. They were made in batches of a thousand and shipped across the country. One begins to choke, spilling her drink, bunching the cloth on the table beside her. They keep laughing. She is purple now. Another group spots them and joins in. The party next door. The whole neighbourhood. It is broadcast across the city. A wave of hysteria sweeps the nation. An online celebrity creates mugs. A famous rapper uploads himself eating pancakes. The sound guy wakes up and turns off the display, but everyone keeps laughing.

God died today. Crumpled jacket at the foot of an apartment block. Creased ticket. Crooked can rolling down suburbia. American dream wakes up. Finds herself an amnesiac in a foreign land. Catches bus downtown. Wanders vacant sun. Blood trickles from wrinkles. So many now. Creased, crumpled, crooked. Drinks from gutter. Chokes. Stumbles into abandoned church. Blood dries into grotesque mask. Hard to feel through it. Like second skin. Tired. Rests head against wall. Waits for pulse. Finds nothing.

A joke to break the gloom. Two crows are perched opposite one another, partitioned by a one-way mirror. Both break into laughter.

No, wait. Maybe tears.
January 2016

(Crows are one of the few birds capable of self-recognition.)
David Nelson Nov 2011
Where I am going?

From the pens of wisdom and prolific wit,
Voltaire, Krishnamurti, Schopenhauer, now I sit,
trying to compose words, that can help me explain,
how you bring me such joy, how you bring me such pain,

I feel like I'm tumbling, not understanding my fate,
I reach out to touch you, but you tell me to wait,
where I am going, is a mystery to me,
it's always been that way, yearning to see,

my weary heart and mind are in need of peace,
I'm like a small white dwarf, waiting to release,
all this suppressed energy, exploding in space,
yet I sit here now, with tears on my face,

I feel like I can grasp, understanding Adams' plea,
when he asks the question, "Whatayawantfromme",  
so simple, so pure, this inquiry, words flowing,
still with no answer, Where I am going?

Gomer LePoet...
one of my earliest pieces
David Nelson  Jun 2010
My Library
David Nelson Jun 2010
My Library

my library is crammed full, some of it ****,
somethings in there, I don't even get,
but that's who I am, and what I'm about

stories, movies, books and such,
all overflowing into the living room hutch,
I even found an old jar of sauerkraut  

Plato, Brokaw, and Chaos's Gleick,
Saving Private Ryan, and Naked Gun shtick,
I'm here, there and everywhere on the map

Sagan, Obama, and General Powell,
who here remembers, Thurston Howell,
Gilligans Isle, now that was some goofy crap  

and if you know me, my music's the bomb,
some loud as hell and some really calm,
Mott the Hoople, All the Way to Memphis and back

I'll listen to Bethoven, I'll listen to Bach,
but my favorite of course, is kick-*** rock,
Nectar remembered the future, it's in my stack

Sabato likes politics, and Roberts the past,
Dan Brown's novels, has the action real fast,
Schopenhauer had little regard, for the girls

Schindlers's list was a gripping tale,
Titanic was cool but had a horrific sail,
I always really loved, Shirley Temple's curls

Sherlock Holmes, was a real tricky dude,
I remember when I saw, Mary Poppins ****,
Shawshank Redemption, was a powerful flick

Monty Python's search, for the Holy Grail,
old time rock with J.J. Cale,
the first Alien story was really slick

now I've barely opened, the door inside of me,
there's a hell of lot more, of me to see,
so I'll probably be back, with much more to tell

my poetry of course, when I find the time,
always looking for, a reason or rhyme,
see y'all later, come back, sit a spell    

Gomer LePoet...

— The End —